St. Colmcilles GAA Club, Pairc Ui Rís, Piltown, Bettystown, Co Meath 089-4440124

St Colmcilles U15’s made it five wins out of five in Division 1 with an entertaining 2-16 to 2-09 win over Ratoath in Piltown this evening, confirming our qualification for the semi-finals in top spot and ensuring a home tie.

The win was down to a dominant first half display when Cilles controlled the game despite playing into the breeze.  The visitors struck first with a fine point before Charlie Bacon opened the home scoring as is now customary.  His opening score was clipped over from the left before he pointed from distance following a flowing Cilles move.  Cian Towey then finished some good work from Rory Kelly before a booming effort from Andrew Noone Garland saw the home side go to the water break with a 4-1 lead.  The opening quarter saw a dominant fullback line of Fintan Gordon, Leon Hart and Conor Bennett get on top of their men with tight marking and some excellent interceptions. 

The second quarter began with Fintan taking a ball from under the crossbar and clearing.  Ratoath were enjoying good possession but a combination of Cilles pressure and some wayward shooting saw their wide count mount.  The home side got the scoreboard ticking again with a super effort from Charlie from way out before Ratoath replied with a nice effort of their own.  Then a slick Cilles move involving some lovely quick passes through the hands opened the visitors’ defence to leave Charlie to palm the ball to the net.  Cilles were on top now and some great link up play by Ryan McBrearty and Fionn McLoughlin was creating chances for a busy forward line.  Charlie added another point from distance before a quick turnover saw him punish Ratoath yet again. 

The home side were dominant now and Ryan clipped a nice point from the left before Charlie finished Cilles’ first half scoring with a fine goal after excellent work from Pearse Gilroy and Cian.  Ratoath pointed again before the whistle leaving it Cilles 2-09, Ratoath 0-03 at the break. 

Ciaran Hackett’s kickouts were very assured and with him finding his man consistently, this gave Cilles some excellent primary possession.   The home defence were well on top with the half back line of Oisin Brennan and the two Toms, Feehan and Forkin able to drive on thanks to the excellent cover provided by the full backline behind them. Rory and Andrew were busy in midfield while Tadhg Duff was winning lots of possession and using it well, assisted by a very busy and productive forward unit.

Caelem Tunstead was introduced for Fintan at half-time with Cilles mixing things up with Fionn moving back and Tadg going to full forward.  Ratoath clearly received some stern words at half time and came out with renewed conviction scoring the first two points of the half before Charlie scored the home side’s first from a placed ball.  Ratoath continued to press and scored two points which were sandwiched by a well worked goal to bring them within six points of Cilles.  A point from Charlie ahead of the water break helped to settled things, leaving it at 2-11 to 1-07.  

Cian Towey made a blistering start to the final quarter with two quickfire points and Daniel O’Neill was unlucky not to raise a green flag soon after.  Charlie scored again from the right before Ratoath goaled again when they reacted quickest to a shot off the crossbar to finish the rebound to the net.  Some parents were getting a tad nervy now but in keeping with the proceedings of the evening, a Charlie effort from distance was followed by an assured free to give Cilles a comfortable cushion.  A last Ratoath attack saw a driven effort just clear the bar … but Ciaran said he had it covered anyway.  Final score; Cilles 2-16, Ratoath 2-09.

The first half display in particular laid the foundation for this victory with excellent defending and some well taken scores.  In fairness to Ratoath they could have thrown in the towel at half time but instead came out with renewed vigour to make sure Cilles had to battle to the end.  I usually don’t pick out any player but after scoring 2-11 tonight I still won’t. 

With the Donaghmore Ashbourne v Gaeil Colmcille game not played this evening, the lads are none the wiser as to who our semi-final opponents will be but they can reflect with satisfaction on a 100% league campaign and look forward to the knockout stages.  Well done all. 

Match Report: Tom McLoughlin

Photographs: Brian Mulligan

Photo Gallery to follow