Sluggish Faithful kick on after first half scare
Offaly got back to winning ways on Saturday as they overcame a poor start to account for the challenge of London in Tullamore. Pat Flanagan's charges battled back from five points in arrears to go in level at the break before kicking on in the second half.
Offaly 0-17 London 1-7
After the game, Flanagan admitted that it had been hard to keep Offaly's morale up following the narrow loss to Westmeath in the Leinster championship earlier this month.
"It's been very difficult to pick the boys up since the game in Mullingar. Having said that, when we were five points down we showed great character, grit and determination to get ourselves back into the game.
"All we could do today was get over the game. In my experience any team will be very flat after losing a championship match and I've explained that to the boys in there. I do think that they are capable of playing at a far higher standard than whatwe did today," said Flanagan.
London impressed in the early stages and were five points to the good in the opening half, scoring 1-3 in without reply as Patrick O'Hara found the net.
Offaly looked jaded but found their rhythm with Nigel Dunne and Niall McNamee leading the way.
The home side had the better of the second quarter and a brace from Dunne levelled the game, 1-4 to 0-7, at halftime. A
Afterwards London manager Ciaran Deely lamented the fact that his side let Offaly back into it during that first half.
"The effort from the boys was fantastic but we let Offaly back into it before half time and in a lot of ways that was the deciding of the game," he said.
"Overall I think we've brought in a lot of good young players. (London-born) Ciarán Healy is eighteen and he's after starting his first ever championship game. (Some of) these guys are Englishmen and we have them out playing Gaelic football. For London in the future, that's the way it has to go. We need to blood in young players and we'll always get the few high quality Irish lads to put into the mix as well."
Offaly were out of sight by the 60th minute, McNamee and Dunne their main scorers as the Faithful County headed for Round 2B of the qualifiers.
SCORERS - Offaly: N Dunne 0-7 (0-4f), N McNamee 0-4, B Allen 0-3 (0-2f), A Sullivan, N Bracken & N Darby 0-1 each. London: P O'Hara 1-1, M Gottsche (f), L Gavaghan, A Moyles (f), S Conroy (f), E Mageean & D Molloy 0-1 each.
OFFALY: A Mulhall 7; B Darby 7, E Rigney 7, S Pender 8; N Darby 7, P Cunningham 8, J O'Connor 6; E Carroll 6, G Guilfoyle 6; J Moloney 6, A Sullivan 6, M Brazil 6; N Dunne 8, B Allen 6, N McNamee 7. Subs: N Bracken 7 for Moloney (44), J Gethings 6 for Guilfoyle (53), W Mulhall 6 for McNamee (58), J Lalor 6 for B Darby (61), K Garry 6 for A Mulhall (64), L Fox for Carroll (67).
LONDON: G McEvoy 7; D Ryan 6, C Carty 6, P Butler 6; D McGreevy 7, C Healy 6, C Coyne 6; J Moran 6, M Gottsche 7; C Dunne 6, C Óg Greene 6, L Gavaghan 7; A Moyles 6, P O'Hara 7, S Conroy 6. Subs: E Murray 6 for Moran (49), K Butler 6 for Coyne (52), C Dunne 6 for Healy (61), E Mageean 6 for Greene (62), C O'Neill 6 for Ryan (64), D Molloy for O'Hara (67).
REF - David Coldrick (Meath)