Flanagan marks return to Sligo with triumph
Offaly 2-14 Sligo 2-10
Offaly native Pat Flanagan returned to Sligo, the county where he spent a year in charge in 2014, but the home fans won't begrudge how his beleaguered Offaly, who are battling to avoid relegation, determinedly took the spoils at Markievicz Park in a four-point win.
Aside from Sligo's enterprising phase in the opening quarter, which saw them lead 1-3 to 0-3 by the 17th minute, and a second-half penalty that reduced the visitors' lead to a point, Offaly were the better side, as wing-back David Hanlon's goal on 54 minutes proved the decisive score in the match.
The winners featured two of the game's best attackers, Nigel Dunne and Bernard Allen, while their midfielders Eoin Carroll and Joseph O'Connor also fared particularly well.
Dunne's goal on 24 minutes, from O'Connor's assist, put Offaly on course for a 1-7 to 1-4 interval lead, while three of their seven first-half points came from the lively Allen.
Sligo, who were boosted early on through Niall Murphy's excellent goal finish to a fine 17th-minute move, appeared to have rediscovered the grit that saw them produce recoveries at home against Armagh and Laois when Adrian Marren hit the net from a 45th-minute penalty.
However, Sligo only managed to get within a point of their opponents as, despite the energy provided by substitute Cian Breheny, they failed to trouble Offaly.
Instead they hurt themselves with three second-half black cards and a red, with Ross Donovan getting a second yellow three minutes from full-time.
Scorers - Offaly: Nigel Dunne 1-3 (3f); Bernard Allen 0-5 (1f); David Hanlon 1-0; Graham Guilfoyle, Eoin Carroll (1f) 0-2; Brian Darby, Cian Donoghue 0-1 each. Sligo: Niall Murphy 1-2 (1f); Adrian Marren 1-0 (1-0 pen), Mark Breheny 0-3 (3f); Aidan Devaney 0-2 (2f), Stephen Coen 0-2; Neil Ewing 0-1.
Offaly: A Mulhall 6; B Darby 6, J Lawlor 7, S Pender 6; N Darby 6, P Cunningham 6, D Hanlon 6; E Carroll 7, J O'Connor 7; S Nally 5, G Guilfoyle 6, C Donoghue 6, S Doyle 6, N Dunne 8, B Allen 8. Subs: D Brady 6 for S Pender (25), K Garry 5 for A Mulhall (45 -black card), J Maloney 4 for S Doyle (63)
Sligo: A Devaney 6; R Donovan 6, K McDonnell 5, N Gaughan 5; C Harrison 5, N Ewing 5, K Cawley 6; S Gilmartin 5, A McIntyre 7; E McHugh 5, N Murphy 5, J Kelly 6; S Coen 7, P Hughes 5, A Marren 5. Subs: M Breheny 5 for K McDonnell (h-t); C Breheny 7 for S Gilmartin (44), B Egan 4 for K Cawley (48 - black card), C Davey 4 for Egan (58 - black card), C Henry for Kelly (64 -black card)
Ref: James Molloy (Galway)