Garrycastle 3-11 Ratoath 2-12
Garrycastle survived a late comeback by Ratoath to deservedly win an entertaining Leinster senior club football championship quarter-final in cold but pleasant conditions in Mullingar.
The Meath champions got off to a good start with a point apiece from Conor Rooney and Joey Wallace, but fine play by veteran Dessie Dolan teed up Alex Gardiner for a well-taken goal in the sixth minute to edge the home team ahead.
James Sheerin and Rooney then traded points, but it was all Garrycastle at this juncture and they rifled over seven unanswered points between the ninth and 27th minutes, three of them from frees by Dolan.
On the half-hour mark, Joey Wallace was denied a goal by Sean Brennan and Garrycastle were well worth their interval lead of 1-09 to 0-05.
Ratoath came right back into contention by scoring 1-02 without reply in the opening five minutes of the second half, the goal gifted by the home defence to half-time sub Cian Rogers.
However, Garrycastle responded with a flicked goal by another half-time sub Tom O'Halloran in the 36th minute.
Michael Monaghan scored his side’s third goal in the 43rd minute and, when Ger Heneghan converted a free for the Westmeath champions some five minutes later, they led by 3-11 and 1-08 and looked well in control.
But the visitors dominated the closing quarter during which they scored 1-04 without reply, the goal from yet another interval sub David McGowan in the first minute of added-time.
Ratoath applied a lot of pressure during the remainder of injury-time, but Garrycastle hung on for a deserved win.
Garrycastle: S Brennan; M Guiheen, J Donohue, M McCallon; D Harte, J Gaffey, G McCallon; J Barrett, J Dolan; A Monaghan (0-02), E Monaghan, M Monaghan (1-02); J Sheerin (0-02), A Gardiner (1-01), D Dolan (0-03, 0-03f).
Subs: G Heneghan (0-01, 0-01f) for D Dolan (half-time), T O'Halloran (1-00) for A Monaghan (half-time), E Mulvihill for E Monaghan (55), J Nugent for M Monaghan (57), C Cosgrove for Gardiner (60), J McGuire for Harte (60 + 2).
Ratoath: S Duffy; S Brazil, C McGill, L Newe; C Ó Fearraigh, G McGowan, E Boyle; K McCabe, D Kelly; E Wallace (0-06, 0-05f), C Rooney (0-03), B O’Connor; J Wallace (0-01), C O’Brien, C Ahearne (0-01, 0-01f).
Subs: A Gerard for Brazil (half-time), D McGowan (1-01) for O’Connor (half-time), C Rogers (1-00) for Ahearne (half-time), D McPartlin for Duffy (inj., 39), B McGowan for O’Brien (47).
Referee: Brendan Cawley (Kildare).