Ratoath claim MHC title
At the second water break the outcome of Sunday's MHC final in Pairc Tailteann was still in the balance. However Sean Corbett's goal 90 seconds after play resumed put Ratoath in command and they pulled away from Loughcrew Gaels/Gaeil Colmcille to claim the Tony Donnelly Cup with a 2-10 to 0-10 win.
There was little between the sides in terms of skill, hunger and determination, but as Loughcrew battled against the breeze in the second period they tired near the end.
Ratoath were never headed, but there was only four points between the sides on one occasion in the opening half before the winners pulled clear after the second water break.
Ronan Byrne opened the scoring for Ratoath in the third minute, but the crowd had to wait another seven minutes for the next score, a fine effort from Ronan Conheady, before starting to warm up.
Loughcrew eventually got off the mark in the 14th minute with a Tom Shine score, but Ratoath responded impressively with points from Sean Corbett and Oisin Cunningham in quick succession before Shine pulled one back to close the gap to 0-2 to 0-4 at the water break.
Less than a minute after the resumption Sean Corbett restored Ratoath's three-point cushion and 90 seconds later a Domhnall Rogers put four between the sides for the first time.
That margin lasted less than 30 seconds as the lively James McDonnell pointed for Loughcrew and after some debate between the referee, his umpires and the linesman Loughcrew were awarded another point to make it 0-4 to 0-6 when shine's effort was eventually deemed good.
Tomas Corbett and Shine (free) traded points before the break as Ratoath maintained their two-point cushion, 0-7 to 0-5, at the interval, but within 20 seconds of the restart Loughcrew were back to within a point as substitute Tiernan Anderson made an instant impact with a fine score.
Another discussion between referee Ryan and his officials ruled a Rogers effort wide for Ratoath, but they didn't panic and by the 39th minute they were 0-9 to 0-6 clear with Conheady and Rogers on target.
Shine responded with a converted free to narrow the deficit to 0-7 to 0-9 at the second water break, but that was as good as it got for Loughcrew.
A long punt forward wasn't dealt with by the Loughcrew defence and with Oisin Cashman applying pressure the ball broke to Sean Corbett who pulled to the net from close range.
Kit Og Lynch replied with a brilliant point three minutes later, but within 90 seconds Ratoath had their second goal when Sean Corbett's centre was deflected into the path of Cashman for a simple tap in to make it 2-10 to 0-8 with eight minutes remaining.
Ratoath didn't score for the remainder - they didn't have to as all Loughcrew could muster were points from a Shine free and the excellent McDonnell as Ratoath captured their first title at the grade since the 1969 MHC, which was played for in 1970.
Ratoath - Sean Corbett 1-3; Oisin Cashman 1-0; Domhnall Rogers 0-2 one free; Ronan Conheady 0-2; Oisin Cunningham 0-1; Tomas Corbett 0-1; Ronan Byrne 0-1.
Loughcrew Gaels/Gaeil Colmcille - Tom Shine 0-5 three frees; James McDonnell 0-2; Tiernan Anderson 0-1; Kit Og Lynch 0-1.
Ratoath - Kristian Grace; John Fitzharris, Liam Corbett, Tim Fitzpatrick; Chris Haskins, Tomas Corbett, Oisin Cunningham; Ben Fraser, Liam Kelly; Eoin Drysdale, Domhnall Rogers, Ronan Conheady; Scott Feldman, Sean Corbett, Ronan Byrne. Subs - Oisin Cashman for Feldman 37 mins, Gavin Doyle for Cunningham 60m.
Loughcrew Gaels/Gaeil Colmcille - Tommy McKeon; Matthew Farrelly, Jack Connell, Tadhg Dardis; Sean Thornton, Dara Shine, Eoin Briody; Oisin McDermott, Oisin O'Reilly; Rian Early, Tom Shine, James McDonnell; Hughie Corcoran, Fergal Flynn, Kit og Lynch. Subs - John Gormley for O'Reilly, Tiernan Anderson for Early both half-time, Andrew Gormley for Thornton 37mins, Ronan Cunneen for Dardis 55, Conall McGovern for Farrelly 56m.
Referee - Derek Ryan (Na Fianna).
Read Fergal Lynch's full match report and pictures from Sunday's final in Tuesday's Meath Chronicle