After 17 years feasting at the top table and enjoying the ultimate taste of glory when winning the Keegan Cup in 2003 Blackhall Gaels have been relegated back to intermediate football following their 0-10 to 1-12 ST relegation play-off loss to St Patrick's at Ashbourne tonight.
Tonight’s crushing loss, coupled with last week’s defeat by Curraha ensured there was no way back for Blackhall Gaels, but they didn’t go down without a fight.
Without the services of a hosts of players for the majority of the year the Batterstown/Kilcloon outfit were also missing Alan Nestor for the game against St Patrick’s and they were hit a further blow late on when Sean Whelan suffered a knee injury that forced him off.
Victory ensures another year in senior football for St Patrick’s, but they will have to find a massive improvement if they are to avoid this scenario against this time next year.
The Stamullen men really should have been out of sight at half-time, but they kicked seven poor wides in the opening 30 minutes and also dropped four other efforts short into the waiting hands of Robbie Butler.
Blackhall were hanging on for dear life at that stage, but what ever was said by manager Liam Keane and Mark Crampton in the dressing room at the break certainly worked wlnders as Paul Kelly, John j Kelly and Whelan inspired a comeback.
However it wasn’t to be and after weathering the storm and tethering on the bring of sinking St Patrick's settled the ship with Niall Mooney finally finding his shooting boots to fire what proved to be the winning goal inn the 59th minute.
It was cruel heartbreak on Blackhall Gaels, but the simple facts were that they just weren’t good enough this term and suffered the inevitable, for St Patrick's they live to battle at senior for another year – just.
Read the full match report in next Tuesday's Meath Chronicle