Sunday 24 September 2017

Gift goal turns tide for Whelahan

Offaly 1-17 Antrim 0-14

Stephen McAfee tries to get past Offaly's Thomas Geraghty in O'Connor Park yesterday
Stephen McAfee tries to get past Offaly's Thomas Geraghty in O'Connor Park yesterday

OFFALY transformed a four-point half-time deficit into a six-point winning margin as they advanced to meet Galway in the next round of the Walsh Cup.

Antrim had started brightly and were full value for their 0-9 0-5 half-time lead but Offaly upped the ante in the second half with Joe Bergin leading the charge with nine points from centre-forward.

The crucial score came in the 56th minute when Antrim centre- back Conor McKinley handpassed the ball into his own net having come under pressure from Offaly full-forward Sean Gardner.

That left the Offaly men 1-13 to 0-12 ahead with 14 minutes to play and they eased home with Bergin and the Geraghty twins, Thomas and Peter, in full flight in the forward line.

Antrim were 0-4 to 0-1 ahead after 10 minutes and were dominating proceedings with an extra man in the middle third. Neil McManus and Stephen McAfee looked lively up front and they looked in solid command at 0-9 to 0-3 with 31 minutes on the clock.

Joe Bergin tagged on two late frees for Offaly to give them a fighting chance at the break before coming out in the second half all guns blazing and outscoring Antrim 1-12 to 0-6 and giving Brian Whelahan a win in his first competitive game in charge.

Scorers -- Offaly: J Bergin 0-9 (0-7f), C McKinley 1-0 OG, T Geraghty 0-2, D Morkan, S Cleary, P Geraghty, K Connolly, D Kilmartin 0-1 each. Antrim: N McManus 0-4 (0-3f), C Clarke 0-3 (0-2f),B McFall, S McAfee, D McKernan 0-2 each, J McCreevey 0-1.

Offaly: J Dempsey; N Wynne, D Kelleher, J Rigney; D Morkan, B Watkins, D Mooney; G Conneely, K Brady; S Cleary, J Bergin, P Geraghty; K Connolly, S Gardner, T Geraghty. Subs: D Kilmartin for G Conneely (57), B Harding for S Cleary (57).

Antrim: S McToal; C Johnson, E Campbell, M Bradley; S McCrory, C McKinley, P Shields; B McFall J McCreevey; S McAfee, M Donnelly, N McKenna; D McKernan, N McManus, C Clarke. Subs: C Carson for M Donnelly (h-t), C Heyden for S McToal (h-t), C McGuinness for S McAfee (47), N Elliot for C Clarke (47), T O Ciarain for N McKenna (64).

Referee: P O'Dwyer (Carlow)

Irish Independent

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