A LONG unbroken stint stretching back to the late 1920s came to an end for Syddan when they made the drop to the Junior ranks following this IFC relegation play-off at Moynalty on Friday night.
In what was a tense, closely contested tie all the way through, the losers can have no complaints as Kilmainham were fully deserved winners and indeed were a little unfortunate not to be ahead by more at the final whistle.
Talisman Mickey Newman was key to this Kilmainham victory and the county star accounted for 1-4 of his side’s tally, including the crucial second goal four minutes from the final whistle. That came with the teams level and followed a calamity in the Syddan rearguard, with Newman eventually finishing to an unguarded net.
Kilmainham’s opening goal also resulted from a lapse as the Syddan defence failed to clear their lines from a Newman free that dropped short and Pat O’Sullivan slapped the loose ball to the net.
After trailing by two points at the first water break, 0-2 to 0-4, Kilmainham eventually went three points clear before having to settle for a 1-4 to 0-6 interval lead. Syddan drew level on three different occasions in the second half but crucially never managed to get their noses in front.
Newman opened his team’s account from a third-minute free before Syddan responded in fine fashion to lead 0-3 to 0-1 after eight minutes. Cormac Rowe had Syddan off the mark and Mark Fedigan and Daire Rowe added further points to give them a two-point cushion.
Newman kept Kilmainham in touch and his third point left the minimum between the teams on 19 minutes. The opening goal arrived a minute later and substitute Conor Kilgallen then pointed to leave his side three clear.
Syddan managed to finish the half on the front foot and points from Michael Fedigan and Daire Rowe left it finely poised at half-time.
The teams just managed a single point between them in the third quarter, a pointed free from Daire Rowe to level proceedings at 0-7 to 1-4.
Kilmainham were quite wasteful in that period and tallied five wides in a 10-minute spell. Syddan did have a goal chance, but Mark Fedigan’s effort was charged down at the expense of a fruitless 45’ on 36 minutes.
Newman restored Kilmainham’s lead from long range on 51 minutes, but Jack Reid responded to that at the other end. The teams were still level when Daire Rowe pointed a free in response to a similar effort from Conor Kilgallen.
With both teams feeling the pressure Newman shot wide from a close-range free after referee Andrew Smith spotted an off-the-ball foul and Freddie Newman then hooked an effort the wrong side of the posts.
Then came the decisive score when a short kickout was mishandled, and while keeper Ciaran Farrelly saved the initial shot from Sean Mahon, Newman was on hand to stroke the rebound to an empty net.
Syddan pressed hard in the closing minutes for a match-saving goal, but the Kilmainham defence held firm and all they could manage with a pointed free from Daire Rowe deep into added time.
KILMAINHAM: Trevor Lynch; Darren O’Sullivan, Ross Mooney, Jamie O’Sullivan; Declan Mullen, Richie Brady, Harry Newman; Gerard Morgan, Larry Morgan; Sean Mahon, Mark Newman, Freddie Newman; Mickey Newman 1-4 (3f), Barry Lynch, Pat O’Sullivan 1-0. Sub: Conor Kilgallen 0-2 for B Lynch, Stephen Newman for Brady.
SYDDAN: Ciaran Farrelly; Tommy Meade, Ronan Mooney, Dara Dillon; Jack Reid 0-1, Ryan Summersby, Michael Fedigan 0-1; Sean Clare, Kevin Traynor; Graham Garland, Mark Fedigan 0-1, Daire Rowe 0-6 (3f); Cormac Rowe 0-1, Paddy Farrelly, Padraic Dillon.
REF: Andrew Smith (Dunshaughlin)