McCormack on fire as Longford thrash new-look Offaly
Longford 2-15 Offaly 0-8
A FINE second-half performance saw Longford ease to victory at Pearse Park.
A new-look Offaly team put up some decent resistance in the first half, but there was only one team in it after the break, with Longford totally dominating proceedings.
The first half was a tight affair and Offaly -- still without star attacker Niall McNamee -- gave as good as they got for the most part.
They were 0-4 to 0-3 up after 22 minutes and 0-5 to 0-4 up after 25 minutes, but a brilliantly taken Paul Kelly goal after a great length-of-the-field movement put Longford in the driving seat as they went on to lead by 1-6 to 0-6 at the break.
In the second half, Offaly quickly cut the deficit with a neat Bernard Allen point but it was all downhill after that.
By the time Offaly scored their eight and final point in the 22nd minute, the home side had pulled out of sight.
The long-serving Paul Barden had an outstanding second half as the Clonguish stalwart ran the show from centre half-forward and with full-forward Sean McCormack displaying tremendous accuracy -- he kicked ten points overall -- they strode into a 1-12 to 0-7 lead as the visitors ran out of steam.
Longford continued to dominate to the finish and a goal from substitute Niall Mulligan two minutes from time put the icing on the cake to give them the start that they needed.
Buoyed by this win, Glenn Ryan's troops will travel to neighbouring Cavan with plenty confidence for their next assignment on Saturday.
Man of the Match: Paul Barden (Longford)
SCORERS -- Longford: S McCormack 0-10 (9f), P Kelly 1-1, N Mulligan 1-0, P Barden 0-2, B McElvaney and R Smyth 0-1 each. Offaly: A Mulhall 0-4 (2f and 1 '45'), B Allen 0-2 (1f), N Dunne and W Mulhall 0-1 each.
LONGFORD -- D Sheridan 7; P Foy 6, B Gilleran 7, D Reilly 6; S Mulligan 6, M Quinn 7, C Smyth 7; B McElvaney 8, J Keegan 8; D Barden 6, P Barden 9, P Kelly 7; R Smyth 6, S McCormack 9, JJ Matthews 6. Subs: D Brady 6 for Foy (h-t), D McElligott 6 for R Smyth (55), N Mulligan 6 for Kelly (59), J McGivney 6 for Matthews (62), N Farrell 6 for Mulligan (69).
OFFALY -- K Meehan 7; J Gallagher 6, P McConway 6, S Pender 6; B Darby 6, S Sullivan 6, L Hiney 6; B Hanamy 6, N Smith 6; A Keenaghan 6, D Currams 6, A Sullivan 7; B Allen 6, A Mulhall 6, N Dunne 7. Subs: G Guilfoyle 7 for Keenaghan (h-t), D Kelly 6 for S Sullivan (45), K Casey 6 for Currams (54), W Mulhall 6 for Dunne (54), S Guing 6 for Smith (65).
REF -- J Curley (Meath).