The top four places in Division One may have already been decided before the final round of games on Thursday evening.
But there was still a lot to play for at the bottom, with the dreaded relegation play off spot still beckoning for several sides as the action got under way.
The players and supporters of Kilkerley Emmets knew that a victory against high flying Naomh Mairtin was essential if they were to stand any chance of avoiding that unwanted play off spot.
However even that might not be enough as they were weighed down with a damaging minus points difference, which in the event of several teams being equal on points could put paid to their escape hopes.
The match started badly for the Emmets as the Mairtins surged into a dominant four point half time lead, with old hand JP Rooney being the tormentor in chief for the away side.
At the same time a bitter rivalry was being renewed out at the Peninsula, as Cooley and St Patricks crossed swords.
There was more at stake for the Kickhams as they knew a defeat could plunge them into the relegation mire.
Although qualified for the O’Donnell Cup there was still the satisfaction of overtaking long time Division One pace setters Naomh Mairtin to play for for Fergal Reel’s outfit.
And they certainly seemed to be making a better fist of the early exchanges. The Senior Championship holders went in at the break ahead by three points, thanks in no small part to the work of Karl Whyte and Paddy Keenan.
Meanwhile another side struggling to escape the relegation play off, Newtown Blues, were battling against an impressive looking Mattock Rangers side in Newfoundwell.
The Drogheda side desperately needed to get something from this match.
With half time on the horizon the Blues were two points ahead and looking good for a win which would assure survival.
Back at Kilkerley, the second half was a different story for the Division One strugglers, they exploded into life, the realisation of what they were facing seemed to dawn on Shane Lennon and co.
Lennon instigated the fightback with six points and the Emmets would go on to win by six points, thanks to a late Cathal Bellew goal. It wasn’t to be enough however.
Despite the fact that St Patricks went on to cruise past Cooley by four points and even though Newtown Blues only just managed to scramble a draw against Mattock in their match, Kilkerley were banished to a relegation play off – their points and goals conceded over the season proved to be their undoing, even though they finished on the same points as the Blues, Cooley and the Plunketts.
Off the rails
Naomh Mairtin’s challenge at the top started to come off the rails in the last few matches, a draw with St Pats and a defeat to Cooley had slowed their charge and they now look likely to struggle in the O’Donnell Cup semi finals.
O’Connells hurtled into second place thanks to a five point win over already relegated Glyde Rangers.
It was a disappointing end to the campaign for the Tallanstown men, even their win over Dreadnots last week wasn’t enough, as nine defeats in eleven games tells it’s own story.
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