Summerhill players celebrate winning the Meath senior football title. Morgan Treacy/INPHO
drought over

Summerhill pushed all the way as they end 10-year wait for Meath SFC title

Extra time was needed in Navan after Ratoath ensured this was another epic contest.

Meath senior football championship final

Summerhill 0-22
Ratoath 1-13

(After extra-time)

Paul Keane reports from Pairc Tailteann, Navan

THEY NEED AN extra 20 minutes or so to get the job done in Navan but after a decade without the Keegan Cup, the extra wait won’t have bothered Summerhill too much.

The fear around Meath was that this may be a dour final between two evenly matched teams but it turned out to be an epic that required well over 80 minutes to produce a winner.

In truth, Summerhill had the look of champions all throughout extra-time and having earlier been level on eight occasions, surprisingly powered past holders Ratoath by 0-7 to 0-1 in the additional two halves.

Man of the match Eoghan Frayne was among their scorers in extra-time and struck 0-6 overall while the exciting Barry Dardis weighed in with 0-5 and was one of 10 different players to get on the score sheet.

Summerhill would have kicked themselves had they not won their eighth county title because they were marginally the better side in normal time but were undone by nine wides – Ratoath struck just four – and they failed to take three different goal chances.

Their reward is a return to the Leinster club SFC and they will play Offaly’s Tullamore, in Offaly, in Round 1 on 21/22 October.

As for Ratoath it’s the end of the line having previously shown remarkable fortitude to come from behind when overcoming Dunshaughlin in the quarter-finals. They also beat Wolfe Tones in the semi-final despite failing to score in the second-half of that game and looked set to pull off another great escape when Daithi McGowan forced extra-time with a 63rd-minute point but that was as good as it got for them.

Defeated Ratoath were initially boosted by the availability of former Meath attacker Joey Wallace for his first start of 2023.

The speedy full-forward came on in the semi-final defeat of Wolfe Tones following his recovery from a cruciate knee ligament injury.

Wallace memorably played for a portion of last year’s final win over Summerhill whilst waiting on surgery having suffered the injury weeks earlier.

He had an immediate impact on this encounter with the angled delivery in the fourth minute which led to a Bryan McMahon goal for Ratoath, a fisted finish after the former Meath forward rose up above Ronan Ryan and goalkeeper Sean Muddiman.

Wallace won a free that Daithi McGowan later converted also though it was Summerhill that fought back to take a narrow 0-10 to 1-6 half-time lead.

Ratoath led by 1-1 to 0-0 after that early McMahon goal but Summerill wiped out the deficit by the 13th minute following points from Eoghan Frayne, Dardis and David Larkin.

In perfect conditions, Summerhill picked off a series of terrific scores from distance with rising county star Frayne and Dardis splitting seven points between them in the first-half alone.

Eamon Wallace, Joey’s big brother and also a former Meath forward, operates in the half-back line for Ratoath and burst through for a timely first-half point.

It was an open and enjoyable decider with a series of intriguing match-ups for the estimated crowd of around 3,000 to pore over.

eamon-wallace-with-diarmaid-mccabe Ratoath’s Eamon Wallace with Diarmaid McCabe of Summerhill. Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

Dardis was initially tracked by former Meath full-back Conor McGill whilst Ratoath’s Jack Flynn, the star of Meath’s Tailteann Cup final victory, went head to head with Summerhill’s powerful midfielder Adam Flanagan.

Joey Wallace was picked up by Summerhill corner-back Iarla Hughes until the defender’s exit midway through the second-half.

Ratoath restarted brightly and controlled the third quarter, outscoring Summerhill by 0-4 to 0-1 in the 15 or so minutes after the break.

Joey Wallace opened his own account with an eye-catching score off his left foot following a probing run from right to left across the 13-metre line.

There were points too from Donegal man Ciaran O Fearraigh, Cian O’Brien and McMahon as Ratoath took a two-point 1-10 to 0-11 lead into the final quarter.

They couldn’t close it out though and Summerhill fought back to level terms on three occasions late on, Lavelle putting the underdogs one up in the 65th minute before McGowan drilled the equaliser for a free with just three seconds of stoppage time remaining.

Summerhill were dominant in the opening half of extra-time with points from Dardis, Eoghan Frayne and Conor Lyons and only one in response from Ratoath’s Flynn.

And Summerhill duly finished the job with four more points in the second-half, allowing their supporters to finally savour a victory that was a decade in the making.

Summerhill scorers: Eoghan Frayne 0-6 (0-3f), Barry Dardis 0-5 (0-2m, 0-1f), David Larkin, Conor Frayne, Conor Lyons 0-2 each, Diarmuid McCabe, Adam McDonnell, John Lavelle, Davy Dalton, Padraig Jennings 0-1 each.

Ratoath scorers: Bryan McMahon 1-1, Daithi McGowan 0-4 (0-3f), Cian O’Brien, Jack Flynn 0-2 each, Joey Wallace, Cian Rogers, Eamon Wallace, Ciaran O Fearraigh 0-1 each.


  • 1. Sean Muddiman
  • 2. Iarla Hughes
  • 3. Ronan Ryan
  • 4. John Lavelle
  • 5. Adam McDonnell
  • 6. Ross Ryan
  • 7. Padhraig Geraghty – Captain
  • 8. Adam Flanagan
  • 18. John Keane
  • 10. David Larkin
  • 20. Diarmuid McCabe
  • 12. Kevin Ryan
  • 14. Conor Frayne
  • 11. Eoghan Frayne
  • 15. Barry Dardis


  • 18. Micheal Byrne for Keane (17)
  • 13. Conor Lyons for Kevin Ryan (40)
  • 17. Padraig Jennings for Hughes (43)
  • 19. Jamie O’Shea for McDonnell (45)
  • 30. Davy Dalton for McCabe (56)
  • 21. Eamon McDonnell for Dardis (60-62, blood)
  • McDonnell for Conor Frayne (68)
  • 23. Ben Moran for Geraghty (h/t e/t)
  • 25. Sean Dalton for Eoghan Frayne (72)


  • 1. Shane Duffy
  • 3. Conor McGill
  • 2. Ben Wyer
  • 4. Ciaran O Fearraigh
  • 5. Andrew Gerrard
  • 6. Gavin McGowan
  • 7. Eamon Wallace
  • 8. Jack Flynn
  • 9. Ben McGowan
  • 10. Keith McCabe
  • 11. Daithi McGowan
  • 12. Cian O’Brien
  • 13. Cian Rogers
  • 15. Bryan McMahon – Captain
  • 14. Joey Wallace


  • 29. Bobby O’Brien for McCabe (48)
  • 21. Brian Daly for Gerrard (49)
  • 19. Padraig Byrne for Ben McGowan (53)
  • 23. Conor Rooney for O’Brien (62)
  • 16. Cian O’Farrell for Duffy (e/t)
  • 27. Liam Kelly for Gavin McGowan (66)
  • 28. Tom Fadden for Joey Wallace (69)
  • 26. Ronan Byrne for McMahon (69)

Referee: David Coldrick.

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