When Ratoath’s Andy Gerrard hit a high direct ball into the square in the 8th minute of injury-time with his team trailing by two points the entire support of Gaeil Colmcille held their breath in hope the ball would fall kindly to one of their own. Instead it was the Ratoath Full-Back Conor McGill who fisted across the square where it was met by number 27, Joey Wallace, playing in his first competitive game of 2020, Wallace palmed the ball to the corner of the Gaeil Colmcille net to spark jubilant scenes among the Ratoath crowd. All the Gods must of have shun down on Ratoath and in particular Joey Wallace, one game, one win, man of the match and another Keegan Cup medal while the Kells players and management were left thinking what might have been, but such is life, sport is not fair either.
The reigning champions Ratoath started brightest and could have found the back of the net inside 30 seconds but would have to settle for a 45 to get the opening score of the game. In an explosive start to the game Gaeil Colmcille hit the next two scores with midfielder Liam Ferguson pointing and a wonderful score from James Reilly left Kells 0-02 to 0-01 with just two minutes played.
The next seven minutes was all about Ratoath as they hit four unanswered points to take a 0-05 to 0-02 lead. In a bizarre opening quarter, just as Ratoath had done, Kells matched the and hit four points in a row with the ever reliant Brian Hanlon and Seamus Mattimoe tagging on two scores each to give Kells a slender lead at the water break.
It wasn’t long before Ratoath levelled things up at 0-06 each but an Evan Sheridan point from his trusty left boot with 25 minutes played pushed Kells back in front. Two more Hanlon frees saw the green, white and red take a three point lead to the break.
The lead was cut to a single point two minutes into the half as Ratoath exploded out of the second half blocks not for the first time in 2020. The three point lead was restored for Gaeil Colmcille by the 35th minute with points from play by Conal Courtney and Mattimoe.
in a nip and tuck battle, Ratoath closed the gap to the minimum thanks to two scores from play before a Hanlon free pushed Kells two clear with 42 minutes played. Ratoath showed why they’re champions and hit the front with 49 minutes played scoring three points on the bounce.
Kells tried desperately to get the equalising score and got it as the clock turned into the red with Mattimoe pointed a free from an acute angle. All seemed to be going in Kells favour when Mattimoe got taken down for a penalty which Hanlon coolly dispatched to move Kells 1-13 to 0-13 clear as referee David Coldrick announcing seven minutes of additional time.
A Bryan McMahon free on 64 minutes reduced to gap to two points with Wallace grabbing the headlines as the clock showed 68 minutes to give Ratoath back to back Keegan Cups.
The defeat will be hard swallowed for the Kells footballers who along with their management played the perfect campaign for four games and 67 minutes to be outdone by a stroke of luck in the end. It will be hard for the lads to pick themselves back up but as Al Pacino once said “Either we heal as a team or we’re gonna crumble, inch by inch, play by play, ’til we’re finished, we’re in hell right now gentlemen, believe me.” and the community of Kells has no doubt that these lads will be back do the town proud once more in 2021.
Gaeil Colmcille: Justin Carry Lynch, Jordan Muldoon, Paul Tormey, James Reilly (0-01), Adam Muldoon, Seanie Curran, Fionn Reilly, Liam Ferguson (C) (0-01), Oisin Reilly, Evan Sheridan (0-01), Phil Ward, Conall Courtney (0-01), Seamus Mattimoe (0-04), Martin Barrett, Brian Hanlon (1-05).
Subs – Barry Smith for Ward, Barry Tormay for Curran, Keith Reilly for Courtney, Ryan Farnham for Hanlon, Cian Doogan for Barrett.