The history of Rathkenny GFC was painstakingly assembled by the hard work and dedication of 3 great Rathkenny Gaels, Tom Mongey, Mick Mongey (R.I.P) and Damien McBride Snr. in a book entitled "Rathkenny G.A.A. History" published in the GAA Centenary Year of 1984.
The book, full of interesting facts, statistics and great photographs is still available to purchase at a very reasonable €15 and would make a fabulous gift idea for all GAA enthusiasts. Anyone wishing to purchase this unique piece of Rathkenny GFC history can contact Damien McBride Snr. (046 9024105) or Gerry Gavagan.
For that project, we the people of Rathkenny, are eternally grateful. The following snippets of facts and information (up to 1984) have been taken, by kind permission, from that great book.
The Beginning 1885-1886
The founder of the Association, Michael Cusack, inspired the establishment of the GAA in Meath. Cusack, during his term of office as Honorary Secretary from November 1884 to July 1886, made two trips to the Royal County in his endeavours to promote and organise new branches of the GAA for the purpose of reviving the old athletic pastimes of our forefathers. Rathkenny parish had an early introduction to the new Association and played a major role in the formation of the first County Committee to manage the affairs of the GAA under the control of the Central Association. On May 31st 1885 not more than six months after the inaugural meeting of the GAA (held in Thurles on 1st November 1884), Michael Cusack visited Drogheda, and was cordially received by Fr. J. A. Anderson, OSA and Fr. W. P. Kearney, CC, St. Mary’s amongst others, all of whom enthusiastically supported the formation of the first branch of the GAA in the town, to be known as Drogheda Gaelics. During his stay he was encouraged to get the new Association underway north of the River Boyne.
For this purpose, Michael Cusack accompanied by Fr. Kearney and his party of supporters, set out on a trip to Kells. On the way there, the party stopped off at Stackallen National School, which is situated along the main Drogheda to Kells road (exactly half way between each town). Edward Connolly was headmaster at the time and he introduced Cusack and party to the pupils. Cusack asked the boys to take an interest in athletics and help him to revive the old Irish pastimes, and by doing so, they would be making Ireland a place worth living in. Cusack, himself a schoolmaster, couldn’t have found a better place to sow the seeds of his desire for a new Ireland than in fertile minds of young schoolchildren.
In September 1886 successful meetings were held in Dowdstown, Kilmessan and Marywell (near Dunshaughlin). In the Drogheda area a team was formed from Donore and their neighbours Donnycarney. During October 1886 Rathkenny, Grangegeeth, and Stackallen were to form branches. Kells formed a branch, followed by Mullagh and Kilbeg. The aforementioned Edward Connolly was the founding member of the GAA in the parish of Rathkenny.
The First Meath Convention 1887
A Meath Convention was held on 13th February 1887 in the Young Men’s Society Hall in Navan, for the purpose of electing a County Committee for the management of affairs connected with the Association in Meath. Mr. J. B. O’Reilly, Dublin, Honorary Secretary of the GAA attended and presided as Chairman. There were 15 branches represented. Officers elected were as follows:
President of the County Committee: Mr. P. Fullam, Donore. County Secretary: Mr. P. Smith, Kells. Committee: Mr. P. Harpur and Mr. J. Doran (both Dowdstown), Mr. W. Mongey (Stackallen), Mr. H. Doran (Kilmessan) and Mr. J. Dillon (Rathfeigh).
The following resolution was unanimously passed:-
“That we are of the opinion that the time has arrived when it is necessary for the development and consolidation of the Gaelic Athletic Association, that a paper in connection and sympathy with it should be started, and we respectfully request the Central Executive to take the matter in hands at once, and we pledge ourselves to loyally support them should they decide on starting one.”
First Game to be played in the Parish (13th February 1887)
First Meeting of Meath County Committee and Result of First Championship
This was held in the Young Men’s Society Hall, Navan, on Sunday 6th March 1887. Mr. William Mongey, Stackallen was elected first chairman.
The first teams entered into the Meath Championship were: Dowdstown, Kells, Donore, Donecarney, Yellow Furze, Stackallen, Mullagh, Kilbeg, Kilmessan (St. Patrick’s), Marywell, Rathkenny and Grangegeeth.
The draw was made and all matches were to take place on Sunday 13th March 1887.
1st round results were as follows:
Mullagh 6 points Kilbeg 8 points
Stackallen 3 points Kells 2 goals 20 points 6 forfeits
Marywell V Kilmessan (no report or result but Kilmessan advanced)
Yellow Furze no score Dowdstown 7 points 2 forfeits
Rathkenny 1 forfeit Grangegeeth 1 goal 1 point 1 forfeit
Donore 1 point Donecarney 1 goal 2 points
2nd round results were as follows:
Grangegeeth no score Donecarney 2 points 1 forfeit
Dowdstown 1 point Kilmessan no score
Kilbeg no score Kells 13 points 5 forfeits
With 3 teams remaining Kells apparently received a bye to the final.
Dowdstown beat Donecarney in the semi final (no record of scoreline)
The final took place on Sunday 17th April 1887, resulting in a win for Dowdstown on a scoreline of 1 goal to no score. Kells objected to the result maintaining that the goal was unjustly scored. A subsequent County Committee meeting did not accept the objection. Kells submitted the dispute to the Central Executive. No record can be found of the result of this objection other than Dowdstown were eventually declared winners of the 1887 Meath Football Championship.
First Recorded List of Players on a Rathkenny Team (1887)
The first recorded team list comes from a game between Rathkenny and Slane played on Sunday 24th April 1887. Rathkenny won the match on a scoreline of 1 point 1 forfeit to 1 forfeit. The Rathkenny team were captained by Patrick Callan and also included A. Connell (Umpire), J. Grant (Goal), P. White, J. Govern, J. Craig, M. Conlon, T. Halligan, J. Gallagher, A. Feely, O. Markey, P. Farrell, P. Powderly, M. Leonard, T. Connell, M. Tumalty, J. Shalvey and D. Cudden. Mr. J. Connell from Grangegeeth was referee.
Our First County Final
The final of the Junior Championship took place in the Show Grounds Navan on Sunday, 8th December 1915 between Rathkenny and Martry. Martry won on a scoreline of 4 goals 1 point to 1 point.
Rathkenny Team: Brian Carey, William Reilly, Thomas Reilly, William Mulvaney, Patrick Farrelly, Michael Doolan, Dan Rock, Matty Maguire (Capt), Charlie Cudden, George Clark, John Maguire, Robert Jolly, Christopher Hickey, Tommy Hickey, Michael Murphy,Michael Murphy scored Rathkenny’s point.
Glory at Last – 1916 Junior Champions
Success at county level finally came to Rathkenny in 1916 in the Junior Championship. Having beaten Duleek, Ashbourne and played Grangegeeth (result not known) along the way, Rathkenny played Slane in the divisional final, on the last Sunday in November, winning 1 goal to no score. As the year was drawing to a close it was decided to defer the remainder of the competition until the following year.
Rathkenny beat Rathmolyon in the semi final on a scoreline of 1-04 to 1-03. The final was fixed for Sunday, 25th March 1917. Unfortunately the only record of the final was the result shown in the following weeks paper. It simply stated Rathkenny defeated Ballinlough by 1 point on a scoreline of 0-2 to 0-1. It was later recalled that Mattie Maguire kicked the winning point from a ‘50’.
1917 Senior Champions
The first account of the senior team in 1917 was that they were fixed to play a friendly match with Martry in July 1917. No record of 1917 Senior Championship was recorded as having taken place. Eventually Rathkenny were fixed to play Bohermeen in the Senior Final. This long awaited final eventually took place on Sunday 28th April 1918 in the Show Grounds, Navan in front of a crowd of “several thousand people”. Rathkenny won the match by 0-5 to 0-0.
The victorious team was as follows: Brian Carey, William Reilly, Thomas Reilly, Bill Flanagan, Patrick Smith, George Cudden, Michael Doolan, Jimmy Curtis, Charlie Cudden, John Maguire, Jimmy Hickey (Capt), Jim Reilly, Tim Reilly, Tommy Hickey, Charlie Carolan
1918 Senior Champions
The 1918 Championship was also won by Rathkenny. The Championship was run on a league basis and Rathkenny beat Bohermeen, lost to Oldcastle, beat Martry, played Kells Harps (result not known). The final game was played against Navan Harps and ended in a draw.
Rathkenny team against Navan Harps was as follows: Brian Carey, Tom Reilly, Thomas Reilly, Bill Flanagan, Patrick Smith, George Cudden, Michael Doolan, Jimmy Curtis, Charlie Cudden, John Maguire, Mattie Maguire, Jimmy Hickey (Capt), Leo Smith, Tommy Hickey, Charlie Carolan
1920 Inaugural Feis Cup Champions
The Meath Feis Committee gave the Feis Cup to the County Board. At a meeting of the County Board, Oldcastle and Rathkenny were chosen to play.
The first ever Feis Cup final was played on 29th June 1920 at the Show Grounds, Navan. In the absence of the Oldcastle team, Rathkenny played the Navan Gaels in a game refereed by Mr. John Newman (Bohermeen). Rathkenny ran out winners by 2-4 to 0-1.
The victorious Feis Cup winning team was as follows: Brian Carey, Peter Watters, Bill Dillon, James Reilly, Joe Shaw, George Cudden Joe Ledwidge, Jimmy Curtis, Charlie Cudden, Peter McGovern, Tommy McGovern, Jimmy Hickey (Capt), Tim Reilly Tommy Hickey Charlie Carolan, Subs Johnny Maguire, Jimmy Reilly, Patrick Smith
1919 Senior Champions
On a Sunday in August 1920, at the Show Grounds, Navan, the final of the 1919 Senior Championship was decided when Rathkenny took on Navan Gaels. Navan Gaels looked to have one hand on the cup when they lead 2-3 to 1-0 at half time. However, Rathkenny went for it in the second half and with the backs keeping Navan Gaels scoreless, they managed to secure victory on a 2-4 to 2-3 scoreline.
The victorious team was as follows: Brian Carey, Joe Shaw, Patrick Smith, James Reilly, Peter McGovern, George Cudden, Joe Ledwidge, Jimmy Curtis, Charlie Cudden, Johnny Maguire, Tommy McGovern, Jimmy Hickey (Capt), Tommy Hickey, Jimmy Reilly, Charlie Carolan, Subs Tim Reilly, Peter Watters.
1922 Feis Cup Winners
Having beaten old rivals Martry in the semi final, Rathkenny took on the Navan Harps once again in a final played in the Park, Trim. Referee on this occasion was Mr. P. Dunphy, Dublin. The final ended on a 1-4 to 1-4 scoreline. The replay was fixed for Randalstown. Later the Meath County Board awarded the cup to Rathkenny as the Harps failed to turn up.
The Rathkenny Team who played in the drawn final were as follows: Brian Carey, Tommy Hickey, Bill Dillon, James Reilly, Michael Farrelly, George Cudden, Joe Ledwidge, Jimmy Curtis, Charlie Cudden, Peter McGovern, Tommy McGovern, Jimmy Hickey (Capt), Christie Meade, Jimmy Reilly, Charlie Carolan, Subs Tim Reilly, Peter Watters, Owen Farrelly, Tom Duff and Jimmy Raleigh.
1922 Senior Champions
Rathkenny defeated Navan Harps in the semi final on a 2-1 to 1-3 scoreline. They played Martry in the final and again tasted victory on a 1-6 to 0-2 scoreline.
The victorious team being as follows: Brian Carey, Owen Farrelly, Bill Dillon, James Reilly, Michael Farrelly, George Cudden, Joe Ledwidge, Jimmy Curtis, Charlie Cudden, Peter McGovern, Tommy McGovern, Jimmy Hickey (Capt), Christie Meade, Jimmy Reilly, Charlie Carolan, Subs Tim Reilly, Peter Watters, Tommy Hickey, Tom Duff and Jimmy Raleigh.
1923 Senior Champions
This was a strange year in that Rathkenny won the Championship playing only one game in the process. Rathkenny played Martry in Navan. They won the game on a scoreline of 1-3 to 0-0. That year there were only three teams entered in the championship, and as Rathkenny had already played Martry it was eventually decided that the would play Navan Harps in the final, which after much discussion was to be played in Kells. Navan Harps failed to show and eventually it was agreed that Rathkenny be awarded the championship.
The end of the most successful era in our history
In April 1925, Rathkenny applied to be reinstated as a junior team and so signalled the end of an era. The reinstatement was made on behalf of the old Rathkenny players. Rathkenny were no longer a senior team and remained that way until winning the Intermediate Championship of 2006.
1932 Junior Final
Since becoming a Junior team, Rathkenny played well but with little success. However in 1932 they had fine victories over Syddan Rath (9-10 to 0-0), Castletown, Wilkinstown and Kilberry before beating Moynalty in the semi final. De La Salle Navan were victorious in the final on a 2-3 to 0-2 scoreline.
Rathkenny team lined out as follows: Frank Allen, Thomas Roche, Matt Ward, Paddy Fox, Tommy Timmons, Mark Maguire, Peter Kealy, Tom Wall, Dick Timmons, Tommy Hickey (Capt), Thomas Coogan, Peter McGuinness, Joe Maguire, Jimmy Gore, Jack Timmons
Having reached the Junior Final, Rathkenny were promoted to the Intermediate grade.
1933 Intermediate Final
Rathkenny beat Boyerstown (3-4 to 1-4) in the first round. Then beat local rivals Syddan (2-3 to 2-2) in round two. This was followed with a one point win over Skyrne. Skyrne re-entered the equation due to a technical objection made by Boyerstown. Rathkenny played further matches against Carnaross and Trim before qualifying to meet Skyrne in the final played in the Show Grounds, Navan. The final ended all square Rathkenny 1-4 Skyrne 0-7.
Rathkenny team lined out as follows: Paddy Reilly, Matt Ward, Thomas Roche, Paddy Fox, Tommy Timmons, Marky Maguire, Peter Kealy, Tommy Curtis, Tom Wall, Jimmy Gore, Pat Donlon, Joe Maguire, Jack Timmons, Tommy Hickey, Dick Timmons.
The replay did not take place until the 1st April 1934 (due to objection and counter objection by both teams). Skyrne won the replay (3-3 to 0-3)
Rathkenny team lined out as follows: Paddy Reilly, Matt Ward, Paddy Fox, Thomas Roche, Tommy Timmons, Marky Maguire, Peter Kealy, Tommy Curtis, Tom Wall, Jimmy Gore, Pat Donlon, Joe Maguire, Jack Timmons, Tommy Hickey, Dick Timmons
1934 Intermediate Champions
Rathkenny lost the first round match to Martry (1-1 to 1-0). They then played Wilkinstown and defeated Tullaghanstown to qualify for the final. The final was played on 28th October 1934, and their opponents were Bohermeen. Rathkenny owned the first half proceedings leading 1-2 to 0-1 at the interval. Rathkenny scorers were Paddy Elliott 1-0, Jack Timmons 0-1 and Jodie Price 0-1. Bohermeen attacked hard in the second half but fell short with Rathkenny winning 1-2 to 0-4.
Rathkenny team lined out as follows: Jimmy Gore, Matt Ward, Paddy Fox, Thomas Roche, Tommy Timmons, Marky Maguire, Peter Kealy, Tommy Curtis, Tom Wall, Joe Maguire, Dick Timmons, Tommy Hickey, Jack Timmons, Paddy Elliott, Jodie Price, Subs – Paddy Reilly, Eugene Reilly, Willie Gore, Anthony Daly, Frank Allen, Paddy Boardman, Paddy Donlon, Bartle Flood.
Little was it realised that this would be our last Final appearance for 50 years. Rathkenny should have been a senior team in 1935 but they declined because they thought they were not good enough for senior level.
1984 Junior Champions
Rathkenny GFC were regraded to Junior in this the Centenary Year of the GAA. It was poignant that one of Meath’s founder members should gain silverware in the Centenary Year. Rathkenny started the year with a first round victory over An Gaeltacht 3-7 to 2-4. The second round ended in defeat to Batterstown 2-3 to 0-7. Their next match was a victory over Curraha before they lost to St. Brigids 2-10 to 0-6. Nobber conceded a walkover in the next round, which meant they were still in with a shout going into the final round against Slane. Slane however conceded a walkover and Rathkenny were in a playoff against Batterstown.
This time Rathkenny emerged as narrow but deserved winners. Next up was another playoff, this time against An Gaeltacht. Rathkenny scored a comfortable victory, which qualified them for a quarter final against Carnaross. Rathkenny won the quarter final 1-11 to 1-07. Next up was a semi final meeting against Skyrne. Rathkenny had acquired the services of a Mr. Sean Boylan to put them through their paces and it paid off handsomely as they defeated the Tara men in Navan 1-8 to 1-3. So Rathkenny had reached a Championship final for the first time in 50 years. Moynalty were the opponents and Rathkenny turned in a brilliant display to emerge as Champions on a scoreline of 1-09 to 0-02.
Rathkenny team lined out as follows: Patrick Reilly, Damien McBride (Capt), Marty Allen, Sean Wall, John Crosby, Pat Goodwin, Tony Kealy, David Heery, Bernard McBride, Ray Connolly, Gabriel Curtis, Norman Donnellan, Peter Crosby, Paddy Timmons, Edmund Curtis Subs – Mick Christle, Mick Farrell, Noel Timmons, Jackie Goodwin, John Wogan, Gerry Drew, Billie Gore, Thomas Crosbie, Tom Elliott, Pat Reid, Declan Donnellan. Scorers – P. Timmons (1-3), G. Curtis (0-2), E. Curtis (0-2), D. Heery (0-1), R. Connolly (0-1).
1996 Junior C Champions
Under the guidance of Nobber man Shane McEntee, a manager renowned for his no nonsense approach, and co-selectors Dermot Curtis, Larry Murray and Eddie Bellew, the North Meath outfit progressed to the knockout stages via a playoff match with Seneschalstown.
Neighbours Wolfe Tones were defeated by the narrowest of margins in the ‘preliminary’ quarter final and St. Colmcilles were accounted for in the quarter final proper by a similar deficit. Ballinabrackey provided the opposition in the semi-final; they too were beaten as Rathkenny progressed.
So the scene was set for a final date with Navan side, Simonstown Gaels third team. Rathkenny had already demolished the town club’s fourth team earlier in the competition, but their third team was a different prospect, they had comfortably swept aside all competition en route to the final, including fancied sides Meath Hill and Cortown.
Unperturbed by their opposition’s big reputation, the Rathkenny contingent headed for Navan expecting nothing less than victory. For 50 minutes the game was a dull, scrappy affair with neither side producing the kind of football which saw them successfully conquering teams in the previous rounds. This was mainly due to the atrocious weather conditions which made it practically impossible to play fast attractive football.
In the final ten minutes however, the Navan XV were awarded a penalty but thankfully they squandered their opportunity. With the game well into injury time the Rathkenny men still held the advantage. However, the town side produced one last rally and to the disappointment of the Rathkenny players, mentors and supporters they grabbed a late equaliser to earn themselves a reprieve.
The replay was fixed for the following Sunday. Again the atrocious weather conditions did not favour quality football but nonetheless the two sides served up a memorable and thrilling contest.
Rathkenny found themselves trailing by 6 points at the interval and two points in succession from the Navan men early in the second half, appeared to signal the end for the north Meath sides title aspirations for another year.
The north Meath XV were thrown a lifeline when Tony Kealy saw his attempt at goal cleared and into the arms of colleague Paul Weldon, who made no mistake and finished the ball to the net. Another Kealy free reduced the deficit to a solitary point (1-7 to 1-8) and then Rathkenny completed their remarkable haul of 2-3 inside five minutes when substitute John Reid pounced on an attempted clearance by the Simonstown goalkeeper and blasted the ball into the net to give them the lead for the first time. The Navan men reeling from the shock of the loss of their seemingly invincible lead responded with a point, while Weldon replied. Simonstown set up an exciting finale when they split the uprights with a superb point, to leave the Navan men trailing by a point. The Rathkenny followers were forced to endure five tension packed minutes, while the Navan side lay siege to the goalmouth, but due to some stout defending they managed to keep the opposition at bay.
Rathkenny team for final was as follows: Noel Timmons, Sean Wall (0-1), Ray Connolly, Noel Curtis, Robbie Califf, Larry Murray, Michael Downey, Michael Weldon, Paul Weldon (1-1), Ray Kealy, Ciaran Mongey, Michael Doggett, Tony Kealy (0-4), Sean McAlarney (0-2), Peter Crosbie. Subs – Peter McKeever for R. Kealy, John Reid for Crosbie, A. Regan for Mongey.
1999 Junior C Champions
Rathkenny looked dead and buried during their semi-final encounter with Ballivor when they trailed by four points, but they refused to throw in the towel and regained the initiative thanks to points from Vincent Lenehan and Tony Kealy. In the end they won by the bare minimum, 0-10 to 0-9.
In the final they led all the way but a late injury time Summerhill goal put the celebrations on hold.After establishing a three point lead from a 52nd Tony Kealy goal, Rathkenny looked odds on to get their hands on the cup, the ’Hill grabbed a second bite at the cherry, however, when scoring a last gasp goal with a well placed low shot.
Rathkenny opened brightly with Paul Weldon putting his name on the scoresheet with three points inside as many minutes. Emmet Martin could have extended that lead but his shot was well saved by the Summerhill custodian. Seconds later Summerhill opened their account with a point and they took the lead with a goal soon after. The men in black and red didn’t allow their opponents build up any momentum at this point and a period of pressure yielded four points in four minutes from Vincent Lenehan, Thomas Rowan, Kealy and Weldon for a 0-06 to 1-01 lead at the end of the first quarter. Again, Summerhill came back, notching three points, but a brace from Kealy and one from Lenehan maintained Rathkenny’s two point lead (0-09 to 1-04) at the break.
Derek O’Halloran put the push for home in motion with a fisted point on the resumption but Summerhill weren’t in the mood to lie over and by the 49th minute they had restored parity. It was still level ten minutes later after a brace of points each were exchanged, but the Lagan Group sponsored side appeared to have put the final nail in the coffin when Kealy raised the green flag. A pass from O’Halloran found Kealy unmarked at the far post and the corner forward netted from close range. When Summerhill squandered a 21 metre free a few moments later, Rathkenny supporters would have been looking forward to the presentation ceremony but there was still time left for that injury-time goal. John McKeever had an industrious hour in the middle of the field while Kealy and Weldon were the main threats up front.
Rathkenny finished the job off two weeks later, 3-04 to 0-03 the scoreboard read when referee Paddy Watters brought an end to proceedings.
Eight minutes into the second half veteran Vincent Lenehan fired home his second goal of the day to leave it 3-1 to 0-3 and then the side in black and red added three more points to put the issue beyond any doubt. The fare was far from spectacular. Rathkenny emerged with the title due to good defensive displays from Laurence Murray and centre-back Gerry Kealy, who returned from America to play.
Glenn Carpenter and John McKeever gave their side the advantage around the middle of the field while Derek O’Halloran, Tony Kealy and two goal man Lenehan posed the biggest threats up front. Summerill had a goal opportunity early on but Gerry Gavagan came to Rathkenny’s rescue with a superb reflex save. That save spurred his colleagues into action but they struggled to convert their possession into tangible reward on the scoreboard and it wasn’t until the ninth minute that they got off the mark with a controversial goal.
Derek O’Halloran’s 40-metre free fell short into the apparent safety of the Summerhill goalkeeper’s hands but Paul Weldon challenged and the ball spilled out of his hands into the net. After 28 minutes Thomas Rowan, a midfielder in the drawn tie and centre forward in this one, carved open a chance following a good run and Lenehan applied the finish touch with a shot to the right corner of the net. Summerhill replied with a point to leave it 2-01 to 0-02 at the break.
The ’Hill opened the scoring on the resumption with a point but Rathkenny’s third goal arrived soon after when Lenehan pulled on a lose ball. Points from Derek O’Halloran, Tony Kealy and Lenehan put a more realistic look on the scoreboard. That last of them arrived with eleven minutes to go and proved to be the last score of the hour.
It was fitting that Meath Co. Board fixtures secretary and staunch Rathkenny official Barney Allen presented the Reilly Association Cup to victorious captain Laurence Murray.
"Winning a championship of any kind means a lot to a club like Rathkenny and this is a great day for the parish and the supporters," the captain said in his acceptance speech. "I’d like to pay special thanks to our selectors and our sponsors and I’d also like to give special mention to the players". Eddie Bellew, Sean Curtis and Paul Smith were the men who masterminded Rathkenny’s latest success. The team for the replayed final was as follows
Rathkenny - Gerry Gavagan; Dermot Downey, Larry Murray, Tommy McKeever; Matthew Brien, Gerry Kealy, Michael Downey; Glenn Carpenter, John McKeever; Emmett Martin, Thomas Rowan, Derek O’Halloran (0-2); Tony Kealy (0-1), Paul Weldon (1-0), Vincent Lenehan (2-1). Subs - Sean McAlarney, Peter Mongey, Richie Califf.
2005 A League Div 4 Champions
Rathkenny won the A League Division 4 campaign by winning nine, drawing one and losing one game.Four wins on the bounce over Meath Hill (2-13 to 2-05), Kilmainham
(1-08 to 0-07), St. Brigids (1-13 to 1-10), Drumbaragh (0-12 to 0-09) created the platform. The only defeat came against Kilbride (0-10 to 1-08), which was followed by a draw against St. Mary's (1-06 to 2-03). Five victories in a row over Moylagh (1-08 to 0-09), St. Vincent's (1-10 to 0-06), Curraha (1-11 to 1-06), Drumree (0-07 to 1-03) and Moynalty
(2-05 to 0-06) ensured a final against Kilbride and a chance of gaining revenge for our only defeat of the campaign.
The final took place in Walterstown on Saturday 24th September 2005. Rathkenny won the toss and played with the stiff breeze in the opening half. Richie Timmons (4) John Curtis (2) and Owen Elliott provided Rathkennys scores to enure a half time lead 0-7 to 0-3.Second half scores from Timmons (3) and David Donegan, ensured Rathkenny held on despite a strong second half from Kilbride to win on a scoreline of 0-11 to 1-07. Rathkenny captain Thomas Rowan accepted the "Malachy Thompson" cup from proud Rathkenny man and County Board Secretary Barney Allen.The squad for the final was as follows;
Rathkenny: John Martin; Tommy McKeever, Matthew O’Brien, James Macken; Ronan Martin, Donal Curtis, Ronan Curtis; Brian Meade, Derek Smith; Darren Barron, Thomas Rowan, Owen Elliot (0-1); John Curtis (0-2), Richie Timmons (0-7), David Donegan (0-1). Subs; Emmet Martin for Barron, Michael Macken for McKeever, John Donegan for Smith.
Unused Subs; Gerry Gavagan, Dermot Downey, Peter Mongey, Larry Murray, Damien McBride, Michael Reid, Peter Downey, Colin Curtis, Ross Smith, Kevin Leddy, Billy Kelly, Peadar Farrelly.
2006 Intermediate Champions
The Intermediate team qualified for the knockout stages of the Intermediate Championship for the first time since 1996, where they accounted for St. Michael’s, Syddan, St. Colmcille’s and Slane, drew with Nobber and lost narrowly to Ratoath and Oldcastle. Next up was a quarterfinal clash with Donaghmore Ashbourne, who were defeated by four points on 24th September. The semi finals threw up a mouth-watering tie with neighbours Castletown, six days later. This is a team Rathkenny had not beaten in championship football in a very long time. However September 30th 2006 in Pairc Tailteann will go down as the date we reached our first Intermediate Final since 1934, after another four-point victory. Drumconrath, the other “Underdogs”, would be the opposition in the final on October 15th. Rathkenny played some fabulous football for twenty-three minutes going nine points to nil up and in total charge. Then two goals in three minutes meant Rathkenny had a tough task playing against a very strong wind. However Thomas Rowan settled the nerves with 1-1 inside a minute of the second half starting. Rathkenny hung on and the celebrations on the pitch were fantastic as players, mentors, (a dog!!) and our brilliant fans made it a sea of red and black. Captain Donal Curtis proudly received the Matthew McDonnell Cup from fellow clubman and Meath County Board Secretary Barney Allen.
Rathkenny team lined out as follows: John Martin, James Macken, Donal Curtis (Capt), Michael Reid, Michael Macken, Tommy McKeever, David Donegan, John Donegan, Ronan Curtis, Ivan Lenehan, Brian Meade, Owen Elliott, Thomas Martin, Darren Barron, Thomas Rowan
Subs - John Curtis, Richie Timmons, Gerry Gavagan, Derick Smith, Ronan Martin, Emmett Martin, Peter Downey, Matthew Brien, Dermot Curtis, Peadar Farrelly, Larry Murray, Michael Downey, Dermot Downey, Ross Smith, Peter Mongey, Kevin Leddy, Billy Kelly, Barry Carolan.
2006 A League Div 3 Champions
Rathkenny made an amazing jump from Division 4 to Division 2 in two years. In the 2006 League campaign, they lost once, drew once and won eight games.
Victories came over Slane (0-9 to 0-07), Moynalvey (1-13 to 1-10), Donaghmore-Ashbourne (0-12 to 0-08), Ballinlough (3-14 to 0-15), Ballinabrackey (1-12 to 0-11), Nobber (3-07 to 0-09), Kilbride (1-09 to 1-06), and Longwood (0-13 to 0-07). Defeat came against St. Ultans (1-13 to 1-09) and the draw against Gaeil Colmcille (0-09 to 1-06). The final was played in Pairc Tailteann on Saturday 28th October 2006.
Unlike the Intermediate Final of a fortnight earlier, it was Drumconrath who were quickest out of the blocks. They played with wind advantage and were 4 points to nil up after 12 minutes. Rathkenny opened their account with a Thomas Martin free on thirteen minutes. Drumconrath extended the lead on fifteen minutes before Thomas martin scored from play a minute later. Drumconrath got their sixth point with ten minutes of the half remaining. Rathkenny had a goal disallowed on twenty-seven minutes when referee Jimmy Henry consulted his umpires and finally ruled out the goal, for a square ball. Rathkenny ended the half with scores from John Donegan and Thomas Martin to leave it 0-6 to 0-4.
Drumconrath opened their second half account with a free on 32 minutes. John Donegan raised Rathkenny hearts with two huge frees from fifty metres. Thomas Rowan levelled matters on 42 minutes and John Donegan put Rathkenny in the lead for the first time with another huge effort from the far touchline. Drumconrath equalised from a free almost immediately. Owen Elliott went on a super run to slot over Rathkennys' ninth point with ten minutes remaining. Drumconrath were not to be outdone and equalised in the 59th minute. Full time score 0-9 to 0-9.
Brian Meade opened the extra time account on 5 minutes before Drumconrath playing against the wind, edged in front with scores on 6 and 7 minutes to lead. Thomas Martin equalised from a free with the last kick of first half extra time.
Rathkenny brought on substitute David Donegan for second half extra time and he obliged with what turned out to be the winning point two minutes after the break. Both sides had further chances but Rathkenny held firm to claim the title. It was a hard fought tense game played in wet conditions and both sides deserve credit for all their endeavors this year.
Rathkenny - J. Martin; M. Macken, D. Curtis, M. Reid, O. Elliott (0-1), T. McKeever, R. Martin; D. Smith, J. Donegan (0-4), D. Barron, B. Meade (0-1), I. Lenehan; T. Martin (0-4), R. Timmons, T. Rowan (0-1). Subs - J. Curtis for Macken, P. Farrelly for Lenehan, D. Donegan (0-1) for Barron, E. Martin for Timmons.Unused Subs: G. Gavagan, D. Downey, M. Downey, P. Downey, L. Murray, M. O’Brien, K. Leddy, B. Kelly, R. Smith.
2006 B League Division 5 Champions
Rathkenny’s great year was reflected when the second team won their league competition, remaining undefeated throughout. After a first round draw with St. Patrick’s, Stamullen, they won their remaining games with victories over St. Paul’s, Curraha, Na Fianna, Gaeil Colmcille, Summerhill, Drumree, Donaghmore–Ashbourne, Longwood, Carnaross and St. Brigid’s.
The final took place on Saturday 22nd October 2006 in Donore.
Darren Barron opened his teams account with two early points. John Donegan added a third soon after. However the first half really belonged to St. Pats as they moved the ball quickly into the forward line and scored well. Indeed a free from Thomas Martin at the end of the half, kept Rathkenny just about in the match with the score at St. Pat’s 0-07 Rathkenny 0-04.
St. Pat’s opened the second half scoring but failed to score again, as Rathkenny thanks to half time switches, started to take control. Five points in a row from Darren Barron (3 from frees) edged Rathkenny in front with ten minutes remaining. St. Pat’s tried hard but could not get past a resolute Rathkenny defence and with John Donegan excelling in midfield, most of the play was in St. Pat’s half of the field. Larry Murray kicked an inspirational point to extend the lead. Darren Barron added another pointed free and with the game going into stoppage time John Donegan kicked a mighty point from a sideline ball to leave four between the sides. The final score Rathkenny 0-12 St. Pat’s 0-08.
This win ended a great week for the Rathkenny club having seven days earlier gained senior status winning the Intermediate Championship. This was their first B league success in a very, very long time. Injured Captain Peter Mongey and Vice Captain Dermot Downey accepted the cup on behalf of the club.
Rathkenny – G. Gavagan; D. Curtis, M. O’Brien, D. Downey; M. Downey, M. Macken, E. Martin; J. Donegan (0-2), D. Timmons; D. Barron (0-8), T. Martin (0-1), T. Rowan; P. Downey, L. Murray (0-1), J. Curtis. Subs R. Smith for Timmons, D. Donegan for D. Curtis. Unused Subs: A. Englishby, R. Calliff, B. Carolan, K. Leddy, B. Kelly, M. Doggett, R. Caffrey, I. Lenehan.
2007 B League Division 4 Champions
Rathkenny B League team reached their second successive final, when, after drawing our first game with St. Pat’s, we put up big winning scores against St. Vincent’s and Bective, before defeats to Dunshaughlin and Drumconrath meant we needed to win our remaining 3 games to have any chance of promotion. Subsequent victories over Simonstown and Dunsany would mean that a high scoring victory (by more than 11 points) in our last game away to Moylagh would be enough. We put in a great display to win by 19 points. A final against unbeaten Dunshaughlin, but more importantly, promotion to Division 3 was the result. The final took place on Sunday 14th October in Simonstown.
The north Meath outfit were quick out of the blocks with top scorer Richie Timmons putting over after 36 seconds. Timmons then had a great chance to net when after great work, he rounded the Dunshaughlin net minder but his effort cannoned off the crossbar before Cody Reilly pointed the rebound. Dunshaughlin steadied the ship with a pointed free, before levelling matters on the ten minute mark. Darren Barron restored Rathkennys lead before Dunshaughlin hit the front for the first time. After pointing from a 21st minute free they went ahead after being awarded a penalty two minutes later. It was converted off the butt of the post. Rathkenny dug deep and scored three points on the lead up to half time. Frees from Timmons and Barron were followed in the second minute of first half injury time with a fisted effort from Derrick Smith, to leave it all square at the break.
Rathkenny brought on Colin Curtis at half time and after Timmons pointed from a free; Curtis extended the lead by the 38th minute. Dunshaughlin added a second goal ten minutes into the second half to lead once more. When they pointed from a free four minutes later, they seemed to be getting the upper hand. However when Rathkenny scored three times in the next four minutes to take the lead once more, we were in for an exciting last ten minutes. Rathkennys scores coming from a brace by Timmons and another great effort from Colin Curtis. Dunshaughlin took the lead once more with two points in the 54th and 56th minute, but Rathkenny were not to be outdone and substitute Emmet Martin calmly slotted the equaliser with three minutes of play resuming. Timmons got his all important sixth point in the 58th minute and try at they might Dunshaughlin just could not get another score. Captain Dermot Downey accepted the cup on behalf of a delighted Rathkenny team.
Rathkenny – T. Fleming; A. Englishby, J. Curtis, K. Leddy; N. Curtis, D. McBride, R. Martin; J. Macken, D. Smith (0-1); D. Barron (0-2), B. Carolan, P. Downey; F. Reilly, R. Timmons (0-6), C. Reilly (0-1).Subs – C. Curtis (0-2) for P. Downey, C. Gore for Leddy, E. Martin (0-1) for C. Reilly. Unused subs – D. Downey, L. Murray, L. Goodwin, R. Caffrey, R. Drew, B. Kelly
Navan and District Historical Society has copied this article for genuine and bona fide information dissemination purposes and acknowledges that the source of the information is http://rathkenny.gaa.ie/club-executive/committees/history