The Wicklow kingpins were held to a draw in Sunday’s county final by old rivals Baltinglass who notched a late leveller from a John McGrath free.
That crucial kick broke Rathnew hearts but as it turned out their suffering was only just beginning.
Immediately after the whistle it emerged that without a declared winner Wicklow would have no representative for tonight’s scheduled Leinster club SFC clash with Dublin champions St Vincent’s.
Leinster chiefs gave both sides the option to play extra-time — which Rathnew claim Baltinglass turned down after a brief discussion — or to return last night for a replay.
With both of those options clearly unfeasible the Leinster Council yesterday confirmed that Vins would receive a bye to face Meath’s Seneschalstown in the Leinster championship on Sunday.
It’s a major blow for Baltinglass, but even more so for Rathnew who won the Leinster championship in 2001 and fancied their chances again.
“We’re very disappointed, livid in fact,” said Rathnew Chairman Patrick Doyle.
“At the end of the day it’s sport, a game of football and you’d think they could have made an exception, the All-Ireland championship isn’t over until next March.
“The Wicklow championship was stalled for over six weeks because of a row between two other clubs which had absolutely nothing to do with us.”
The latest controversy brings an unfortunate end to a Wicklow championship dogged by a long running and divisive saga involving St Pat’s and Shillelagh.
Pat’s beat Shillelagh by a point but required the intervention of the Leinster Council and Disputes Resolution Authority after the game was mistakenly deemed a draw. “That hassle had absolutely nothing to do with us but it’s ultimately cost either ourselves or Baltinglass the chance of competing in Leinster,” added Doyle.