Brazil winner shows 'this Offaly team doesn't down tools any more'
Offaly 0-15 Clare 1-11
A point deep in stoppage-time from Michael Brazil ensured Offaly kept their promotion hopes alive at O'Connor Park as they kept their 100pc home record intact.
Offaly had led by three points with normal time just up but after two fine saves earlier in the sequence from Faithful keeper Alan Mulhall, Eoin Cleary did find the net for Clare to level.
There were seven minutes of injury-time, owing largely to a lengthy stoppage for a head injury to Bernard Allen, and with five of those minutes elapsed, Brazil went on a fine run and kicked the winning point.
Up to the time of the Clare goal, Offaly had been in control and rock solid value for their lead.
They were three points ahead at half-time, having blown some excellent goal chances, and they kicked on in the third quarter as Graham Guilfoyle, Brazil and Nigel Dunne all added superb points from play.
Clare knuckled down and got up a head of steam with three scores in a row but points from Joe Maher and Anton Sullivan left Offaly sitting on a three point lead before Cleary struck for the late goal.
Brazil then kicked the winner and a vital one at that, with Westmeath, Longford and Sligo all winning their games, setting up an interesting final two rounds of action over the next two weekends.
Offaly boss Pat Flanagan was delighted to see his side come through another close encounter.
"We're the most tested team in the country at this stage when it comes to character" said the Clara native, before going on to further praise his players for keeping their promotion dream alive.
"Another team would have downed tools after conceding a score like that but this team doesn't down tools any more.
"To be fair to our lads and the work they've been putting in, they deserve to be on six points, possibly a little bit more. But it's still in our hands to get to ten points and if we can do that, who knows?"
Scorers - Offaly: B Allen 0-4 (2fs), N Dunne 0-3, G Guilfoyle, M Brazil 0-2 each, J O'Connor, C McNamee, J Maher (f), A Sullivan 0-1 each. Clare: D Tubridy 0-4 (3fs), E Cleary 1-1, J Malone 0-2, G Brennan, S Collins, E Coughlan, P Burke 0-1 each.
OFFALY - A Mulhall 8; E Rigney 6, S Pender 9, B Darby 7; N Darby 6, J Moloney 8, J O'Connor 9; E Carroll 8, J Gethings 7; C McNamee 6, N Dunne 7, M Brazil 8; N McNamee 6, B Allen 7, G Guilfoyle 6. Subs: J Maher 7 for Allen (46), A Sullivan 7 for Guilfoyle (56), S Doyle for C McNamee (70), R McNamee for N McNamee (70+6)
CLARE - J Hayes 7; S Malone 6, K Hartnett 6, M McMahon 8; J Malone 8, G Kelly 7, C O'Dea 6; G Brennan 8, C O'Connor 6; S Collins 6, S McGrath 5, P Lillis 5; E Cleary 7, D Tubridy 7, E Coughlan 6. Subs: D Ryan 7 for Lillis (29), K Sexton 6 for McGrath (h-t), P Burke 7 for Collins (BC, 38), G Kelly 6 for Coughlan (60), S Haugh for J Malone (70+6).
Ref - B Cawley (Kildare)