DUNDALK Gaels turned in a strong second half display to ensure their survival in Division 1 for another season thanks to victory in Monasterboice on Sunday afternoon.
The result was a setback for Naomh Mairtin's hopes of staying up as defeat saw them finish second from bottom and they must now face a promotion/relegation play-off.
It was looking good for the home side in the opening half as a goal from a Stephen Campbell penalty had them leading by 1-5 to 0-7 at the break.
Scores were hard to come by early in the second half before Campbell stretched the Mairtins lead to two points.
However, that was as good as it got for the Monasterboice side as they were outscored 9-3 in the final 20 minutes of the game. Two frees from Sean Fee and Sean McCann brought the sides level before Eanna Mc Ardle started the kick for home with the lead point.
Two more frees by Mc Cann and Fee stretched Gaels' lead and Mc Sorley added a spectacular point soon afterwards.
Naomh Mairtin's problems increased when forward Brian Mc Quillan was sent off with 10 minutes left on the clock, but the Jocks never gave up the fight and cut the Gaels lead back on two separate occasions.
However, in the closing stages the extra man created gaps at the back that the winners exploited as David Mc Comish and Mc Cann eased any late jitters.
JP Rooney hit back with a couple of frees, but Paul Burke and the Gaels had the last say to hang onto their top tier status.
DUNDALK GAELS: Stephen McLaughlin; Darragh O'Callaghan, Jamie Faulkner, Eamonn Kenny; David Moley, David Maloney, David McComish 0-1; Gerard Fee, Shane Callan 0-1; Sean Fee 0-4, Sean McCann 0-4, Niall Hearty; Eanna McArdle 0-1, Anthony McSorley 0-2, Gerard McSorley 0-2. Subs: Andrew Coleman for N Hearty, Paul Burke 0-1 for A McSorley.
NAOMH MAIRTIN: Jamie Mulholland; Eoin Wright, David Delaney, Paul Berrill; Luke Harrington, Kenny Lambe, Benny Reilly; Gavin Mooney, Conor Smyth; Carl Courtney 0-1, Brian Berrill, Stephen Campbell 1-0; 13. JP Rooney 0-7, 6 fr, Nicky McDonnell, Brian McQuillan. Subs: Paul Campbell for K Lambe, Wayne Campbell 0-1 for C Smyth, Gareth Lambe for C Courtney.