This year’s Senior County Championship Relegation Play-Off takes places tonight in Newcastle West between Rathkeale and Ballysteen at 6.15pm.
Both sides finished bottom of their respective groups with a combined total of three points. For Rathkeale, their campaign began brightly with a narrow loss to last seasons champions Monaleen followed by an impressive draw against eventual table toppers Drom-Broadford. However, three losses in a row followed for the West side as they were condemned to the relegation final.
Ballysteen on the other hand started the campaign with a pair of disappoining losses at the hands of Oola and St Patrick’s. Draws against Newcastlewest and St Kieran’s followed to give Ballysteen hope of survival heading into the final day against Ballylanders. Ballylanders proved too strong however in Ballyagran and sealed Ballysteen’s faith.
Prior to the championship, both sides would have harboured genuine hopes of progression to the knockout stages after both performed under par last year. However, both sides have failed to live up to the hype again and one will ply their trade in the Intermediate ranks next year.
The sides previous meeting came 12 months ago in Newcastle West where Ballysteen picked up a vital win which would ease them towards safety. The score on the day was 1-11 to 0-9 in favour of Ballysteen, however, the game was more even than the scoreline suggests.
Ballysteen have been in the senior ranks since 2009, while Rathkeale were promoted in 2013 after winning the Intermediate Championship. On Friday one of these sides spell in senior football will come to an end with the victor too hard to call.