Ratoath Harps……3 Balrath FC…………1
By Ger Brady
Two goals either side of the half time break proved decisive for Ratoath Harps on Sunday morning in the Oscar Traynor Centre as the County Meath outift took home the NDSL Under-12 David Costello Cup.
With the game evenly poised at 1-1 and the half time whistle less than a few seconds away, Ratoath’s Brandon Tighe let fly from range and it was an effort that had a little too much fizz on it for Alex Rogan in the Balrath goal to cling on to and rushing in to tap home from close range was Oran Corboy.
The half time whistle blew on the re-start and Harps had their noses in front at the break.And it’s one of those old sayings that just before half time is the perfect time to score – well two minutes after the break when the other teams heads are still a little down isn’t a bad time to score either and that’s exactly when Ratoath made it 3-1 with Marc Webster the scorer this time cutting into the area from the left and slotting home superbly in the far corner.Up until that point we had a very even contest with both teams having chances
It was the boys from Balrth who showed their attacking had first in just the second minute when Mickey Bruton got on the end of a long goal kick only to denied bt a terrific save from the feet of Ethan Hynes in the Harps goal.
Ratoath’s first chance of the day arrived two minutes later but Webster’s rasper whizzed just over the crossbar.
Balrath were to be gifted the perfect opportunity to open the scoring in the 9th minute when Cian Hosie’s corner to the back post was handled by a Harps defender in a rare moment of madness and it was a penalty to Balrath.
But cup finals not only bring moments of madness and drama – they also bring nerves and that’s what seemed to effect Taylor Dodds’ effort from the spot as he slammed his penalty left and wide of the Ratoath goal.
At the midway point of the half, Webster saw his effort saved by Rogan but from the resultant corner Ratoath took the lead when a Balrath defender looked to slice his clearance into his own net whilst under severe pressure from Harps’ Jamie Kelleher and Webster.
There was certainly no heads down at that stage from Balrath as they almost drew level straight away but Derry Flynn’s shot found only the side-netting.Ratoath were still a major threat down the other end however and in the 21st minute they almost doubled their advantage when Corboy’s long range effort along the dance-floor seemed to deceive the diving Rogan in the Balrath goal, take a bobble and hit the upright.
It was almost a huge slice of luck in Harps’ favour and at the same fortunate for Balrath to not fall behind further behind but they were working tirelessly at trying to find a way back into the game with Jake Barry up front shining brightest.
And Barry got his rewards on 23 minutes when he nicked a ball off his markers toe to pounce in behind the Ratath back-line and smash the ball low into the far corner to make it 1-1.
Unfortunately for Balrath then came the two Ratoath goals either side of the interval and they suddenly found themselves 3-1 behind – a deficit they never really looked getting back.
The impressive Jake Barry and James Kavanagh did come close for Balrath in the second period but Harps too had their chances with Liam Larkin coming closest as his free-kick whistled just over the bar.
In the end the goals from Corboy and Webster proved pivotal in the Ratoath win but both teams certainly played their part in a terrific final which opened the day of cup final fireworks for the NDSL.
Ratoath Harps: Ethan Hynes, Bobby Corr, Christophe Cannon, Jack Casey, Oran Corboy, Ryan Keane, Jay McNally, Jake Kelleher, Marc Webster, Liam Larkin, Mark Tatten, Johnua Gill, Brandon Tighe, Rory McGrath
.Balrath FC: Alex Rogan, Taylor Dodds, Cian Rosie, Mikey Bruton, Keith Finnegan, Harry Mahon, Kyle Connolly, Derry Flynn, James Kavanagh, Jake Barry, Peter Treanor, Fionn Breathnach, Jessie Fenne Dunne.
Referee: Declan Farrell.