It's a proud wee club: McKenna relieved as Castletown stay in top division
Easier access to your trusted, local news. Subscribe to a digital package and support local news publishing.
Relief was the overriding emotion for manager Tom McKenna as Castletown retained their top-flight status with a 3-0 victory over Keiss in Friday night's Caithness AFA relegation/promotion play-off.
A big crowd turned out at the Upper Bignold Park in Wick to see the team that finished second bottom of Division One get the better of the Division Two runners-up.
"It's a relief," McKenna said. "It's a proud wee club this, so it's great for the football club that they're still in the first division.
"They are ambitious to stay there and try to continue to grow and develop.
"It's the first time in a long time they've been able to stay up – they've been regarded as a kind of yo-yo club. Hopefully we can try and entice more players to come and play for us."
Back Park is one of the most admired playing surfaces in the north and the club's pavilion was officially reopened at the end of April after a £45,000 refurbishment.
"The facilities are there for a first division club," McKenna said. "But if you go out and don't win football games you deserve to be where you are throughout the season.
"You get people who think 'we've dominated a game of football and we deserved more from the game'. If you don't outscore your opponents, if you concede more goals than your opponents, you get what you deserve at the end of the day."
Greg Macleod put Castletown in front three minutes before half-time with a great strike on the half-volley.
Michael Smith got on the end of a through ball to poke in the second after 56 minutes, and Smith completed the scoring from the penalty spot with 73 minutes gone.
Castletown's Dylan Alexander was sent off two minutes from the end for a second bookable offence.
Keiss finished the league campaign just two points behind long-time leaders Lybster, and manager Bradley Thomson insists they are "going in the right direction".
He said: "We're definitely proud of what the guys have done. It's a young team out there, and the physicality in that game showed itself a little bit.
"In the first half we were probably the better team but we went in 1-0 behind. They've got experience as well – there's a lot of factors there.
"Last year we got to the Steven Cup final and got beaten by them. This year we've come to this [play-off] and got beaten by them. We're going in the right direction.
"We've definitely improved over the last few years. It's good that we're getting the club back to where it wants to be."
Caithness AFA president Murray Coghill said it has been a successful season, with the key issues in both divisions not resolved until the final week or two.
"It was nip and tuck in both divisions," he said. "And we didn't have any games postponed because of the weather.
"It was a successful season from a CAFA point of view."
John Budge of Wick Groats was presented with the Caithness AFA player of the year award, while the young player of the year accolade went to Mark Munro of High Ormlie Hotspur.
Tony Miller of Keiss was the second division player of the year.
This year's Caithness AFA fair play trophies went to Pentland United in Division One and Top Joe's in Division Two.
Steven Anderson (Wick Groats) was top goalscorer.