Ardee St Marys will have to take to the field again in a playoff to secure their place in the Anchor Tours Senior Football Championship quarter finals after the Sean O’Mahonys beat St Josephs 1-07 to 0-09 in Dowdallshill tonight – leaving the Marys and the Joes deadlocked in Group 1.
The Joes suffered defeat by the very same score the Marys did against the Dundalk side seven days earlier – and after the Marys and the Joes drew 0-15 to 0-15 on the opening weekend, the teams are now deadlocked in the race for qualification as runner up.
Both teams have one point and both teams (courtesy of their draw) have an identical head-to-head record. They have both scored a total of 24 points and have both conceded 25. Neither side have scored a goal in this year’s Champiosnhip.
This all means the Sean O’Mahony’s qualify as group winners and the Marys and the Joes will have to play a one off match to determine who will advance with them.
After suffering defeat at the hands of the O’Mahonys in round two of the group stage, the Marys Championship fate was out of their hands at the start of play tonight as the men from Dundalk and Dromiskin clashed in Dowdallshill. To qualify, the Blues needed to hope the Seans’ beat the Joes by more than one point.
A Joes win or draw would have condemned the Hugh Durrigan’s side to a relegation playoff – just nine months after their final appearance. Were the Sean O’Mahony’s to win by a point, it would come down to how many points the Joes and Marys had managed to score in their two outings. There’d be nothing left of Marys nails to bite if it can to that.
If nerves were jangling before the throw-in, that’s how it remained throughout. The Joes led by three points at half time. The O’Mahonys hit the net with 13 minutes remaining and after David Dowling’s point, they edged two points in front – the minimum margin of victory that the Marys required to progress.
However, a late Conal O’Hanlon free made it 0-09 to 1-07 and that’s how it finished. Conor Crawley was sent off for the O’Mahonys as the clock ticked down.
UPDATE: A date for the playoff has been provisionally set for the weekend of August 13th.