Wednesday 29 March 2017

Offaly grateful to hot-shot McNamee as Rossies rally just falls short

OFFALY had to withstand a furious late Roscommon rally before claiming two crucial points in Tullamore yesterday.

The Faithful men were coasting at 2-14 to 1-9 with less than 10 minutes to go and, even against the wind, they seemed home and dry.

However, a Cathal Cregg goal following Sean Ryan's wayward pass gave the visitors hope.

Points from John Rogers, Enda Kenny and David O'Gara brought the deficit back to the minimum and Roscommon missed a chance to earn a point when James Connaughton was wide from 14 yards with the last kick of the game.

The nervy finale was bizarre for Offaly, as they had been in cruise control. With Roscommon playing very poorly and Niall McNamee in fine form, the hosts dominated proceedings. McNamee's penalty goal put them in the driving seat early on, though that was quickly cancelled out by a John Rogers goal.

Offaly led by 1-7 to 1-1 after 14 minutes. Roscommon fought their way back into it to trail by a point five minutes from the break, but the home side stepped on the gas again. The in-form John Reynolds netted a goal and Offaly led 2-11 to 1-8 at the interval.

In a mediocre third quarter, Offaly out-scored their visitors by three points to one, before that dramatic late fightback left them hanging on by their finger-tips.

SCORERS -- Offaly: N McNamee 1-8 (1-0 pen, 0-3f), J Reynolds 1-2, D Egan 0-3, S Ryan 0-1. Roscommon : D Shine 0-6 (0-5f, 0-1 '45), J Rogers 1-1, C Cregg 1-0, J Connaughton 0-2, M Finneran, G Heneghan, D O'Gara, E Kenny 0-1 each.

OFFALY -- A Mulhall; C Kiely, S Sullivan, B Darby; C Carroll, R Dalton, S Lonergan; J Coughlan, C McManus; A Lynam, S Brady, S Ryan; D Egan, J Reynolds, N McNamee. Subs : P Smart for Egan (60), P Sullivan for Ryan (69), R Brady for Brady (69).

ROSCOMMON -- G Claffey; S McDermott, M Killelea, S Ormsby; P Domican, C Cregg, I Kilbride; M Finneran, M O'Carroll; S Purcell, J Connaughton, G Heneghan; J Rogers, D Shine, D O'Gara. Subs -- K Higgins for Kilbride (h/t), E Kenny for Purcell (42), D Casey for Killelea (52), D Hussey for Heneghan (54).

REF -- G McCormack (Dublin).

Irish Independent

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