Fairyhouse Steel – Senior Championship Relegation Play-Off
Cilles 0-15 : 0-10 Rathkenny
Played on Sunday evening in Seneschalstown in front of a massive crowd this really was a game that neither side wanted to be in. For the winner senior championship football again for 2020 and the loser faced the dreaded relegation into next year’s Intermediate Championship. This really was a titanic battle with every ball fought for tooth and nail. The game very much in the melting pot at half time with the score 0-5 to 0-4 in favour of the Seasider’s.
It was the early part of the second half of this game were this game was won with the Cilles hitting a purple patch to go 0-13 to 0-6 up with 50mins on the clock. The Cilles closed the game out, however not without some scares, but were thankful in no small measure to two excellent saves from Andrew Beakey in goals. With Rathkenny and former Meath stalwart Brian Meade excellent in midfield the Rathkenny men were winning the majority of the breaks in the middle third in the first half and Meade was instrumental in all of Rathkenny’s play and he also helped himself to four excellent points over the course of the hour.
The Cilles went into this game missing a number of players including the influential Cathal Hilliard and also had Graham Reilly, Tomas O’Hoistin and Conor O’Byrne all going into this game carrying knocks. The Cilles full back line was excellent over the hour and the defence as a whole were tight and disciplined throughout the game. The Cilles had a mix of experience and youth and in the half forward line two of last year’s minor stars Luke Brady and Stephen Breen stood out over the hour with the latter kicking three excellent score.
With county men Ben Brennan and James Conlon also to the fore they proved a real handful for the Rathkenny defence. Ruiari O’Grady in midfield was a colossus for the Cilles and put in a huge amount of work throughout. The Cilles were also hugely indebted to two club stalwarts Robbie McCloskey whom was excellent over the hour and substitute Ian Mullen whom managed to get forward much to Manager Brìan’s consternation, however he kicked a wonderful point to somewhat allay the managers concern.
In what has been a difficult year, with not getting the rub of the green on certain occasion’s and for a variety of reasons this was a year that all can learn from. A lot of new players have been introduced to the panel, with lads getting plenty of league and championship football; the future is very bright for the team. Survival in the Senior championship was vital and the lads all brought great determination and skill to run out deserved winners over the hour.
Rathkenny are an excellent team and club; we all wish them well next year and a speedy return to senior championship football.
We would like to say a special thank you to all the Cilles family who came to the game last night. Watching lines of cars drive in with the sky blue jerseys was a joy to behold and meant a lot to the boys on the pitch and indeed their families and management team. We all went to Croker a few years ago and this was slightly less glamorous but as important! Watching older members of the club grace the field with their inter-county comrades was great but seeing the young men like Luke and Stephen on the pitch alongside Cilles legends was magic and bodes well for the future.
Cilles: Andrew Beakey (0-1, 1f), Adam Lynch, Tomas O’Hoistin, Danny McMahon, Carl Mullan, Robbie McCloskey, Jeff Kavanagh, Ruairi O’Grady, Conor O’Byrne (0-1), Luke Brady, Ben Brennan (0-2, 1f), Stephen Breen (0-3), Jack Reynolds (0-1) Graham Reilly, James Conlon (0-6, 1f).
Subs: Ian Mullen (0-1) for Conor O’Byrne
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