Rathmore lost their 20-year senior club championship status after a surprising no show in the second half against neighbours Kilcummin.
Rathmore’s exit is all the more surprising in a season where they had beaten Dr Crokes in the senior club championship and top Division 1 of the County League.
But All-Ireland Intermediate champions Kilcummin had no desire to join the band of clubs who went up to senior only to come back straight down the following season.
Rathmore were without their injured talisman Paul Murphy, though they looked the likelier winners for long periods of the opening half as they lead by three-point margins on two occasions.
While Noel Duggan gave Kilcummin an early lead from a free, a brace of points from both Chrissie Spiers and Mark Reen had Rathmore 0-4 to 0-1 in front by the end of the opening quarter.
Duggan converted another free but both sides lost a man to black cards, Philip Casey (Kilcummin) and Brian Moynihan (Rathmore). Young Paul O’Shea then added another for Kilcummin but points from George O’Keeffe and a Spiers free pushed Rathmore three clear again.
Kieran Murphy closed the gap but George O’Keeffe pointed again and then another Mark Reen free left four between the sides with five minutes remaining in the first half.
But four answered points from Duggan (2), with one each from Kieran Murphy and Paul O’Shea, saw the sides go in level on 0-8 apiece.
Kilcummin assumed control in the third quarter with Duggan pointing.
Mark Reen replied from play but that was to be Rathmore’s only score of a third quarter as Kilcummin fired over 1-5 without reply and effectively ended the game as a contest.
A Kealy free and a Gary O’Leary point had them ahead before Kerry U20 captain Sean O’Leary surged upfield for a superb goal and Rathmore knew their long stay in the senior ranks was over.
N Duggan (0-5, 3 frees); S O’Leary (1-0); P O’Shea (0-3); K Murphy, K McCarthy (0-2 each); B Kealy (free), G O’Leary and S McSweeney (0-1 each).
M Reen (0-5, 3 frees), C Spiers (0-3, 2 frees), G O’Keeffe and S Ryan (1f) (0-2 each)
B Kealy; S O’Leary, D Maher, P Casey; J Nagle, K McSweeney, D Moynihan; K Gorman, K Murphy; K McCarthy, G O’Leary, S McSweeney; E O’Sullivan, N Duggan, P O’Shea.
O O’Connor for Casey (B/C) (4), J McCarthy for Gorman (50), M Keane for O’Sullivan (53), W Maher for Duggan (B/C (53), Damien O’Leary for Moynihan (53), S Moynihan for McCarthy (59).
K O’Keeffe; TJ Friel, M J Kelliher, C Kelly; C Murphy, A O’Mahony, B O’Keeffe; D O’Sullivan, G O’Keeffe; B Moynihan, C Spiers D Rahilly; M Reen, S Ryan, J Moynihan.
C O’Sullivan for B Moynihan (B/C) (7), D Fitzgerald for D Murphy (45), M Ryan for Kelly (50).
S Mulvihill (St Senans)