Kelly on the double to rescue Faithful
Offaly 3-12 Meath 2-10
New Offaly boss Kevin Ryan had Oisin Kelly to thank for saving his side's blushes as the Faithful rallied to defeat 13-man Meath in Trim.
The Ferbane man struck for two second-half goals, the latter of which came on 70 minutes while Shinrone's Sean Cleary accounted for their other goal, in what was an uninspiring display.
Meath were the more enterprising of the two sides throughout the opening half and deservedly led 0-7 to 0-4 at the break.
Keeper Shane McGann had proved unbeatable in that period, saving two penalties, the first on two minutes when he turned a Shane Dooley piledriver around the post.
McGann then repeated the feat when again denying Dooley following a foul on Kelly on 20 minutes.
However, as Offaly increased the tempo, the Royals lost their way the longer the second half progressed.
Meath eventually finished with 13 men following the late dismissals of Jack Walsh and James Toher for second yellow card offences.
The goals turned the tide for Offaly but Waterford native Ryan will be concerned that his charges shot 20 wides over the hour as well as failing to convert the two penalty efforts.
Dooley accounted for half of their tally of points, three of which came from frees.
The visitors were well clear before Sean Quigley snatched Meath's opening goal from a free. Substitute Luke Martyn grabbed the second but at that stage it was too little too late.
SCORERS - Offaly: O Kelly 2-1, S Dooley 0-6 (3fs), S Cleary 1-1, S Gardiner 0-2, D King, C Molloy 0-1 each. Meath: S Quigley 1-4 (1-1fs), J Toher 0-5 (4fs), L Martyn 1-0, S Whitty 0-1.
Offaly: J Dempsey; P Rigney, M Cleary, P Delaney; B Conneely, C Doughan, S Gardiner; D King, S Ryan; P Camon, L Langton, T Carroll; S Dooley, O Kelly, S Cleary. Subs: A Treacy for Langton, A Cleary for Camon (both h-t), C Molloy for Carroll (39).
MEATH: S McGann; S Geraghty, R Sherlock, C Reilly; K Keogan, D Kelly, S Whitty; A Forde, P Kelly; J Toher, G Kelly, N Weir; M O'Sullivan, N Heffernan, S Quigley. Subs: J Walsh for G Kelly (h-t), K Kenna for P Kelly (48), S Brennan for Heffernan (51), D Reilly for Sherlock (52), C McCabe for Weir (56), L Ferguson for Geraghty (66), L Martyn for Forde (69).
REF - G McGrath (Wexford)
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