There won’t be an Ardee St Marys vs John Mitchels Louth GAA Division 3 promotion/relegation decider in 2017, after the Marys went down to a narrow 1-11 to 1-10 defeat to Cooley Kickhams last night in their Division 4 promotion semi-final.
The men from Cooley will now go forward to face the Mitchels, who finished 11th in Division 3 after the regular season. The winner of the promotion/relegation playoff will play their football in Division 3 in 2018.
Ardee St Marys junior side finished third in Division 4 at the end of the 11 game regular season, having won eight and drawn one of their 11 games. They finished one point behind Cooley, which gave Kickhams home advantage for Wednesday evenings play-off semi-final.
The Marys’ top three finish, coupled with the Mitchels 11th place finish in the tier above, set up the tantalising prospect of a rare local derby between the two Ardee sides. Now, it is Cooley who stand in the way of the Mitchels and preserving their Division 3 status for next year.
The Ballybailie men will have home advantage, with the playoff set to be played at Pairc Sean Misteal. There has been a suggestion that St Brides B, who finished above the Mitchels by points difference in the league, may not be in Division 3 next year. Confusion surrounds their involvement going forward.
However, despite that confusion, the County Board have said the season must be played to an end meaning the Mitchels must navigate the playoff against Cooley. It may later come to pass that any St Brides’ development will see a change in the Mitchels’ circumstance. They will hope they can be handed a reprieve. The team from Knockbridge failed to field a team in either of the last two leagues. In total, they failed to field in three of 11 league games.