Faithful see off late Louth surge
Offaly 0-13 Louth 1-9
Offaly held off a late rally by Louth to ring in 2016 with a win in Darver.
Pat Flanagan's men led by six points at one stage in the first half, but were hanging on by the end, as Jim McEneaney inspired the hosts. The sides traded divisions in the NFL last year and it was tier-three newcomers Offaly who looked more cohesive early on.
They had a two-point lead cancelled out early on but really took control of the contest midway through the half, kicking six points without reply to lead by 0-8 to 0-2.
The pick of the bunch was a flowing team move, finished off by midfielder Conor McNamee, but the visitors did idle in front a little, allowing McEneaney and Ger McSorley to make it 0-8 to 0-4 at the break. Louth attacked the second period with greater purpose, but there was more than a touch of fortune about the score that brought them back into it, as McEneaney's kick for a point looped over Ken Garry and into the net.
Louth continued to press but Joe Maher made it 0-13 to 1-7. With 13 minutes still to play, that turned out to be Offaly's last score, but the hosts could only muster late frees from McEneaney and Colm Judge.
SCORERS - Offaly: B Allen 0-4, S Doyle (3f), J Maher (2f) 0-3 each, C McNamee, M Brazil, C Donoghue 0-1 each. Louth: J McEneaney 1-5 (4f), C Judge 0-2 (1f), G McSorley, R Holcroft 0-1 each.
OFFALY - K Garry; D Brady, E Rigney, S Pender; N Darby, J Moloney, J O'Connor; L Fox, C McNamee; M Brazil, S Nally, C Donoghue; S Doyle, J Maher, B Allen. Subs: J Gettings for Fox (43), A Sullivan for Brazil (43), C Byrne for Darby (53), N Dunne for Doyle (55), S Moriarty for Nally (60), B Darby for Pender (68).
LOUTH - N Gallagher; P Rath, D Quigley, K Toner; E Lafferty, D McMahon, K McLaughlin; T Durnin, D O'Connell; A Reid, J McEneaney, D Byrne; C Judge, G McSorley, J Stewart. Subs: C McKeever for O'Connell (30), R Holcroft for McSorley (50), C Lenehan for Toner (50), J Califf for Durnin (56), S Hand for Judge (69).
REF - B Cawley (Kildare)