Will it be the hunger or the famine which ends today?

Sun 21st Nov

Will it be the hunger or the famine which ends today?

There is something of a novel pairing in the 2021 edition of the LMFM Minor Hurling Championship Final as Ratoath who have contested a few finals of late without winning take on Loughcrew Gaels/Gaeil Colmcille who are contesting a first ever final as an Independent Team although Gaeil Colmcille did win the competition back in 2009 when defeating Kilmessan in the decider.

For all that Ratoath are perceived to be a dominant force in both codes at juvenile level, incredibly they last won the Minor Hurling Championship way back in October 1970, although that was the 1969 Final. Back then the team featured some players from Dunboyne whereas today the team is fully made up of players likely to go on and wear the club colours for many years to come at adult level.

This will be the teams fourth meeting of an abbreviated season with both sides recording a victory apiece as well as there being one drawn encounter. This suggests the sides are very well matched and if we get a game anywhere near as high in quality as their drawn game back in Round 1 of the Championship then all patrons in Páirc Tailteann today are in for a final to savour for that was an outstanding exhibition of all that is good in juvenile hurling.

For Ratoath, six to today’s starting XV will be lining out in their third LMFM MHC Final in a row but will it be third time lucky for their super six? They will lack for nothing in guidance from the sideline with Mark Haskins donning the Bainisteoir bib ably assisted by his six selectors. Injury doubts have persisted around Liam Kelly but the vibes around the club in recent days suggests the Meath Minor Football captain will be fit to play and he will be ably assisted at midfield by the industrious Ben Fraser. Domhnall Rogers is laser accurate from played balls and any indiscretions from the Loughcrew Gaels/Gaeil Colmcille defence will be punished by him. Rogers is ably assisted up front on the scoring front by the likes of Ronan Conheady, Scott Feldman and team captain Seán Corbett.

The team though is backboned by an ultra-tough defence in which Chris Haskins at wing back is a player to look out for while the marauding runs from deep by centre back Tomás Corbett is a feature of the teams play. In goalkeeper Kristian Grace they have one of the steadiest custodians around while his accurate puck outs have been known to set up many a score during the season.

 

It has been something of a fairytale run for Loughcrew Gaels/Gaeil Colmcille this year with few mapping them as likely contenders when the season began. Two years ago they landed the U-15 Division 2 League title and to progress from there to Páirc Tailteann today on the showpiece occasion of the juvenile calendar is a remarkable achievement. It is testament to the hard work being put in to develop hurling in North Meath and in particular to the passion and drive of team manager Seán Geraghty.

The county senior hurling captain is putting in trojan work developing the next generation of hurlers in that part of the county and he has moulded an incredibly impressive side who are improving continually. Many of these players line out for various clubs in football but there is no doubting their unity when they pull on the hurling jersey. Oisín McDermott and Hughie Corcoran might be better known as footballers following their exploits in the Meath jersey this year but both are vital cogs in Geraghty’s machine with McDermott a force of nature around the middle of the field and Corcoran a no nonsense man marker when he drops back from the attack. Taidgh Dardis who lines out at corner back today follows in the footsteps of his father who lined out in the 1994 Final.

The Shine brothers Dara and Tom are lynchpins of the side with Dara anchoring the team at centre back and Tom leading the forward line from his centre forward berth. His battle for supremacy with Tomás Corbett is one which all supporters will relish today. In the full forward line Ronan Cunneen is a doubt following an injury sustained in the semi-final but should he pass a late fitness test then his eye for a goal will likely see him marked down as a big danger man while Rian Early and Kit Óg Lynch are others who are capable of keeping the scoreboard ticking over.

Verdict – Loughcrew Gaels/Gaeil Colmcille come into this game with little or no pressure on them and any further improvement could see them land the Tony Donnelly Cup but Ratoath’s greater experience of County Final day might just be enough to see them over the line.

Path to the Final – Ratoath
Round 1 Ratoath 3-09 1-15 Loughcrew Gaels/
Gaeil Colmcille (Grangegodden)
Round 2 Ratoath 3-19 1-07 Trim (Ratoath)
Round 3 Ratoath 1-13 2-10 Kilmessan (Kilmessan)
Semi-Final Ratoath 2-09 1-10 Donaghmore/Ashbourne (Dunganny)

Total Scored Ratoath 9-50 (77) 5-42 (57) Opposition

Path to the Final – Loughcrew Gaels/Gaeil Colmcille
Round 1 Loughcrew Gaels /Gaeil Colmcille 1-15 3-09 Ratoath (Grangegodden)
Round 2 Loughcrew Gaels /Gaeil Colmcille 1-16 3-08 Kilmessan (Kilmessan)
Round 3 Loughcrew Gaels /Gaeil Colmcille 2-16 2-16 Trim (Grangegodden)
Semi-Final Loughcrew Gaels /Gaeil Colmcille 1-11 0-09 Clann na nGael (Dunganny)

Total Scored Loughcrew Gaels /Gaeil Colmcille 5-58 (73) 8-42 (66) Opposition

 

 

 

 

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