An Ambitious Move

During Johnny Flanagans reign as Chairman, Ratoath Harps successfully applied to the Leinster Senior League and became one of a handful of Meath clubs which have, or still do, play intermediate football, which is a grade below senior (League of Ireland) football, The club spent two seasons (1982/83 and 83/84) at intermediate level. While success on the field eluded them they learned a tremendous amount about what was required to run a successful club and the experience gained was invaluable. Johnny takes up the story: Robbie Cooke had moved into the area and was a very experienced player at League of Ireland level. The enthusiasm which existed, coupled with Robbies experience, prompted us to make the move.

Robbie adopted the player-manager role while Johnny was the assistant. The first game was on 22nd August 1982 when Mellor Flood scored as the Harps went down (1-2) to Cherrywood Athletic. The squad on duty that day was: Niall Fitzgerald, Kieran Gaughan, Mick Walls, Paul Meyers, Dessie Brady, Michael Regan, Tommy Ennis, David Brennan, Mellor Floor, Daragh O Neill, Noel Carey and David Gorman.

The following month (1/2/82) TEK United were beaten with goals by Robbie Cooke and Noel Carey while in October the club played in the FAI cup, but were beaten by three goals in Dalkey. Paul McGrath was not eligible to play for Dalkey as he had signed for St. Patricks Athletic and would later sign for Manchester United.

Parkvilla were regular opponents and during the first season, the two Meath clubs played out two draws (2-2 and 3-3) with Mark Flood (two), Robbie Cooke, Daragh O Neill, Owen Power scoring. The following season only one victory was recorded.

The club did well against TEK United. However, by the end of the season, a change was needed and the club decided to move again, this time to the rapidly expanding Meath and District League.

Some of the notable clubs Ratoath would have played against were: Ashtown United (Now Ashtown Villa) St. Patricks, Bray and Bray Wanderers).

Leinster Senior League Team 1982

Back L to R: M. Butterly, Anthony Gaughan, Kevin Kelly, Mark Flood, Niall Fitzgerald,David Gorman,Robbie Cooke, Paul Myers, Christopher Brady, Johnny Flanagan.

Front: Tommy Ennis, Daragh O Neill. Mellor Flood, Kieran Gaughan, Noel Carey