Played in Duleek on Friday evening this was the final group game in the league format of the Senior Championship which pitted the top two teams in the group, with the victors guaranteed to top the group and losers to finish second. It was the men from Ratoath who deservedly came away with the points in a game where they largely dominated possession, but were to hit a large number of wides over the hour.
The Cilles, who were guaranteed a quarter final spot coming into this game were minus a large contingent of players, including key marksmen Graham Reilly, Ben Brennan, James Conlon, Ciarán Kelly and Eoin Woods. St Colmcilles will hope to have some of these back for their next encounter.
The Ratoath men got the opening score of this game from a free in the 6th minute and this was followed up with an excellant score from play for the Seasiders from Conor O’Byrne. The Ratoath men then hit a purplepatch hitting 1-3 without response and they also had a penalty chance in this period, however the penalty was expertly saved by Andrew Beakey in the Cilles goal. The Cilles got the last score in the first half again from play, from the boot of Conor O’Byrne, however they were also dealt a further blow in losing Jack Reynolds through injury. The score at the break was 1-4 to 0-2 to Ratoath.
The second half started with with the sides exchanging a point each, with the Cilles score coming from a David O’Byrne free. Ratoath then hit three points in succession, however the Cilles then struck for a goal through Eanna Walsh on the 43rd minute to leave the scoreline 1-3 to 1-8. With the gap only 5 points it was the Cilles that needed to kick on from their goal, however the Ratoath team were not going lie down and were to hit over the next 3 points. The Cilles did rally late on with a Tomás O’Hoistin point from play and another David O’Byrne free to leave the score at 1-5 to 1-11 on referee Cormac Reilly’s final whistle.
The Cilles defended resolutely over the hour and the Ratoath men will prove a tough opposition for anyone as they progress in this years Championship.
St Colmcilles will now face Summerhill in an eagerly awaited clash, which will surely be an historic occasion, as this will be the Cilles first ever quarter final in the Senior Champioship.
Cilles: A Beakey, C Ward, J McDonnell, I Mullan, A Lynch, C Mullan, C Hilliard, R O’Grady, R McCloskey, J Kavanagh, D McMahon, J McElearney, D O’Byrne 0-2, C O’Byrne 0-2, J Reynolds.
Subs: E Walsh (1-0) for J Reynolds, T O’Hoistin (0-1) for J Kavanagh, S Crilly for C Hilliard