Ratoath proved why they are favourites for this years intermediate championship, with a clinical display against a Ballinlough side who struggled to match the speed and intensity of their opponents. Bolstered by the same full-forward line as the county U-21 side; Eamon Wallace, Bobby O' Brien and Brian Mc Mahon, the winners simply had too much pace and scoring power for their opponents to deal with.
A tight opening to the match saw the sides tied at two points a piece, after good scores by Peadar Byrne and impressive debutante James Baugh for the ‘Lough. Ratoath edged ahead; 0-4 to 0-3, after 20 minutes as Ballinlough continued to battle gamely. However, Ratoath soon found their rhythm and with points from Gareth Rooney, Wallace and O' Brien they managed to build up a 0-7 to 0-3 advantage going in to the change of ends. There could have been a wider margin between the sides, but for some wayward shooting by the leaders.
Ballinlough needed to really up their game in the second half, but it got off to the worst possible start after Ratoath scored a goal after 20 seconds, Cian O' Brien won the throw in and the ball was released to Bobby O' Brien on the overlap and he finished emphatically to the net. Ratoaths superior fitness and speed began to show as they continued to attack from all areas of the field, the Ballinlough attack gave away possession softly and were severely punished as Ratoath broke away at pace and the ball ended up with Eamon Wallace who finished to the net and gave them a convincing; 2-7 to 0-5 lead. Brian McMahon and Bobby O’ Brien continued to impress in attack and Robbie Madden was a commanding figure around the middle of the field as Ratoath dominated.
Byrne converted a further two frees for the ‘Lough, but it proved to be too little too late, in what was a disappointing day for the North Meath men.
Ballinlough: K. McGuinness, R. Farrell, P. Muldoon, B. Smith, R. McGuiness, K. Devine, J. Baugh, Cian Mallen, N. Farrelly, S. Geraghty, P. Byrne, T. McCullen, M. McCullen, K. Mallen, Colm Mallen. Subs: J. O’Reilly for N. Farrelly, M. Geraghty for T. McCullen, G. Reilly for Colm Mallen.