Ratoath take title after late scare
Ratoath survived a second-half scare to win in Mullingar on Saturday against Athlone.
The Westmeath champions had the aid of a strong wind in the first half, but the Meath men dominated early on.
John Connellan opened the scoring for Athlone after just 50 seconds, but Conor Rooney and Bryan McMahon found the net in the sixth minute.
McMahon tagged on four points as the visitors consistently opened up a porous home defence.
Athlone, who lost John Egan to a black card on the quarter-hour mark, were at sixes and sevens and despite scoring quality points from play, they could easily have trailed by more than 10 points at the break (2-8 to 0-4).
After that, it looked like Ratoath would win comfortably.
However, Athlone rallied, and reduced the margin to a goal (2-9 to 1-9) with 10 minutes remaining, helped by Sam Omukoro's goal
But Ratoath pulled clear again. John Stapleton's goal in added-time merely amounted to a consolation.
Scorers - Ratoath: B McMahon 1-9 (5f), C Rooney 1-1, E Wallace, J Wallace, B O'Brien 0-1 each. Athlone: J Connellan 0-6 (3f), J Stapleton 1-1, S Omukoro 1-0, J Quinn, R Connellan 0-1 each.
Ratoath - S Duffy; D McGill, G McGowan, P Flaherty; B O'Connor, B Power, E Boyle; C O'Brien, K McCabe; G Rooney, B O'Brien, B McMahon; C Rooney, E Wallace, J Wallace. Subs: P Quinn for Boyle (58), B Daly for G Rooney (60), D Kelly for Flaherty (60), C Nugent for McMahon (60).
Athlone - D Costello; E Maher, D Kelly, F Murray; D Lynam, N Mulligan, T Egan; J Stapleton, P Bannon; S Ward, J Marshment, J Egan; J Quinn, R Connellan, J Connellan. Subs: S Omukoro for J Egan (BC, 15), M Darling for Lynam (h-t), M Greene for T Egan (h-t), J Fallon for Marshment (54), D Reid for Quinn (60).
Ref - B Tiernan (Dublin).