Hoops and Blues in winner-takes-all clash

Killarney Celtic manager Brian Spillane

They won every one of their 14 games in the Premier League, sometimes by very significant margins, and although they finished a whopping 19 points ahead of the runners-up, Killarney Celtic FC must still play a league final in a winner-takes-all encounter at the weekend.

A bizarre rule in the Kerry District League insists that no matter how far ahead any club is in table at the end of the season, they are obliged to play a final against the second placed team which, in this instance, is local rivals Killarney Athletic AFC.

Daithi Casey: Notched the winning goal in 2017 points

As the season drew to a close on May 26, Celtic had the maximum 42 points from 12 outings with an impressive goal difference of +45.

Behind them, Athletic had 20 points from 13 games with one left to play and their goal difference at that stage was +12. They beat third placed Castleisland 2-1 last night to bring their points tally to 23 and their goal difference to +13.

Celtic and Athletic will now go head-to-head in a championship shootout on Sunday and even though there are two Killarney teams in the final, the game has been fixed for Mounthawk Park in Tralee with a 2.00pm kick-off.

If the tie ends in a draw, it will go to a replay and, if they still can’t be separated after that, a penalty shootout will be necessary.

The Brian Spillane managed Celtic are the in-form team having won the league and cup double for the past three seasons.

But both sides will be conscious of their tense 2017 league final meeting when a Daithi Casey strike sealed Athletic’s first ever Premier success against all the odds and the Blues will be hoping to repeat the exercise this Sunday.

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