Just a few miles up the road from where William Wallace’s life story was transferred to the big screen another Wallace, Joey this time, was a central figure in an epic drama.
Neither he nor brother Eamon had started in any of the reigning champion’s games this season but Joey was the right man in the right place to palm home a match winning goal in the ninth of seven additional minutes.
You read that right, there were seven minutes added time indicated by the fourth official but we were entering the ninth when a long delivery into the edge of the Gaeil Colmcille square came off a forest of hands to where Wallace was lurking and he duly palmed home.
Moments earlier it looked like Brian Hanlon had secured the Keegan Cup for the Kells side when he slotted home a penalty after Ratoath ‘keeper Shane Duffy hauled down Seamus Mattimoe.
It was just as well Duffy didn’t save the spot kick as he really should have been black carded by referee David Coldrick, although he did receive a yellow for his troubles.
Two minutes before that Coldrick had correctly sent off Ratoath sub Emmet Boyle for a nasty high hit, that was lined up a long way off on the losers Conall Courtney.
Although all the drama was confined to the last eight or so minutes it was an excellent game overall.
The sides were tied six times over the course of a gripping contest in which both sides looked set to kick-on and take the title.
Gaeil Colmcille closed the first-half well to lead by 0-9 to 0-6 at the break, with two Hanlon frees ending the first-half scoring .
In the improving conditions, the wind wasn’t as big a factor as earlier in the day, Ratoath had whatever advantage the elements offered in the second 30 minutes.
But the disciplined Kells-men were digging in. Two Bryan McMahon points ensured Brian Farrell’s men regained parity, 0-12 to 0-12, by the water break.
Joey Wallace set the tone for the final quarter with fisted point following a run through the Gaeil Colmcille defence. The scoring rate dipped in the final stages but the excitement grew.
First, Hanlon’s goal looked to have given Gaeil Colmcille a third title. There was to be one final dramatic twist.
The tension of the occasion was amplified by five scores in the opening six minutes with the holders leading twice and Gaeil Colmcille having a brief spell in pole position when James Reilly pointed in the third minute.
With Jack Flynn and Cian Rogers dropping deep, soon Ratoath moved 0-5 to 0-2 clear. Joey Wallace was won of the scorers in this phase.
A productive spell yielded three points in as many minutes Brian O’Hanlon and Seamus Mattimoe to the fore. By the water break the Kells-side led by 0-6 to 0-5.
Ratoath were forced to line out with the injured Darragh Kelly while injury denied Gaeil Colmcille of the services of Johnny Quigley. He was replaced by Adam Muldoon. In the Gaeil Colmcille
The occasion wasn’t helped by the difficulty in identifying players on both sides. On the plus side Bryan McMahon’s speech reflected well on him and his club.
Scorers: Ratoath – Joey Wallace 1-3; Bryan McMahon 0-6 (4fs); Daithi McGowan 0-4 (3fs, 1 45); Cian O’Brien 0-1..
Gaeil Colmcille – Brian Hanlon 1-5 (1-0 pen, 0-4fs); Seamus Mattimoe 0-4 (3fs); Conall Courtney, James Reilly,Liam Ferguson, Evan Sheridan 0-1 each.
Ratoath – Shane Duffy; Ciaran O Fearraigh, Conor McGill, Ben Wyer; Jack Gillespie, Gavin McGowan, Andrew Gerrard; Ben McGowan, Joey Wallace; Daithi McGowan, Cian Rogers, Conor Rooney; Cian O’Brien, Bryan McMahon (C), Jack Flynn. Subs – Eamon Wallace for (38), Emmet Boyle for Gillespie (44), Connell Ahearne for Rooney (50), Keith McCabe for O’Brien (54), Darragh Kelly for B McGowan (60).
Gaeil Colmcille – Justin Carry Lynch; Jordan Muldoon, Paul Tormey, James Reilly; Adam Muldoon, Seanie Curran, Fionn Reilly; Liam Ferguson (C), Oisin Reilly; Evan Sheridan, Phillip Ward, Conall Courtney; Seamus Mattimoe, Martin Barrett, Brian O’Hanlon. Subs – Barry Smith for K Reilly (38), Barry Tormay for Curran (47), Keith Reilly for Courtney (57), Ryan Farnham for Hanlon (63), Cian Doogan for Barrett (64).
Referee – David Coldrick (Blackhall Gaels)