Saturday 23 September 2017

Callanan's last-gasp blow floors Offaly resistance

Tipperary 1-18
Offaly 2-14

Tipperary snatched a dramatic victory over Offaly when Seamus Callanan fired a low free to the net three minutes into injury time in their Division 1 tie in Tullamore.

A good second-half comeback by Offaly looked like securing the league points for the home side but, with the last puck of the game, Callanan fired his shot through a crowd of players in the Offaly goalmouth and into the net to give Tipp victory by the narrowest of margins.

It was cruel luck on Offaly, who had dominated much of the second half. Two goals from Shane Dooley midway through the half gave them a five-point advantage but they failed to score in the final 16 minutes. Some great defensive work kept Tipp out until that late free proved decisive for the visitors.

There was nothing at stake in the league for either side and that was evident for much of the opening period, which lacked the real competitive edge normally seen at this time of the year. The excitement levels did grow in the second half as Offaly made their fightback but the home side's hopes of victory came up just short.

There was little between the sides in the opening half hour when they were level on a couple of occasions. Tipp held a slight edge and when they scored four points in the final six minutes of the half, they went in leading by 0-11 to 0-7 at half-time.

They stretched their lead to five points early in the second half and Offaly had a fight on their hands. It was 0-15 to 0-11 after 12 minutes of the half but then Offaly began to get a grip and three points in a row left just one between them.

Offaly hit the front after 17 minutes when Shane Dooley took a pass from Joe Bergin to finish to the net and two minutes later he repeated the feat and Offaly were five points up.

The defence did well to restrict Tipp to two points from frees and one from sub Pat Kerwick over the remaining 16 minutes but then right at the death Callanan stepped up to fire home the winner for Tipp.

Both managers might have injury worries ahead of their championship games in six weeks' time as Tipperary's Eoin Kelly, David Young and Darragh Egan, and Offaly's Stephen Egan and Daniel Currams all went off injured during the game.

Scorers -- Tipperary: E Kelly 0-7 (0-3f, 0-1 pen, 0-1 '65), S Callanan 1-2f, S McGrath, S Hennessy 0-2 each, M Hefferan, Padraic Maher, J Brennan, D Egan, P Kerwick 0-1 each. Offaly: S Dooley 2-6 (0-3f, 0-1 '65), D Currams, J Bergin 0-2 each, C Parlon, R Hanniffy, B Carroll, S Kelly 0-1 each.

TIPPERARY -- D Gleeson; P Stapleton, P Curran, M Cahill; D Young, C O'Mahony, Padraic Maher; H Maloney, S McGrath; S Hennessy, S Callanan, M Heffernan; E Kelly, J Brennan, D Egan. Subs: Patrick Maher for Kelly (42), S Maher for O'Mahony (44 ), B Maher for Young (51), J O'Brien for Heffernan (56), P Kerwick for Egan (63).

OFFALY -- J Dempsey; S Egan, P Cleary, M Verney; D Hayden, D Kenny, D Morkan; R Hanniffy, S Kelly; D Molloy, J Brady, D Currams; C Parlon, J Bergin, S Dooley. Subs: J Rigney for Egan (11), C Mahon for Currams (22), B Carroll for Parlon (43), G Oakley for Molloy (68).

REF -- J Owens (Wexford).

Irish Independent

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