Bernard Allen the star in Tullamore as Offaly see off London in the qualifiers
Offaly 1-21 London 1-11
Bernard Allen was the star of the show in Tullamore as he kicked 11 points to send Offaly into the second round of the All-Ireland football qualifiers.
London left it all on the field but in the end, although Offaly made hard work of it at times, the home side deserved to prevail even if the final margin flattered them somewhat.
Allen was the difference between the sides and when the game was there to be decided, he produced.
The key score came when Ruairi McNamee got the Offaly goal from close range on 51 minutes as it came on the back of a purple patch for the Londoners.
The first half struggled to come to life early on, with Offaly having it all their own way in the opening 15 minutes.
They went 0-6 to 0-0 up, with corner forward Allen leading the charge with five points. But just as it looked as if they would saunter through the game, Killian Butler struck a powerful shot beyond Patrick Dunican in the Offaly goals to bring London to life.
Conor Doran then kicked a point for the Exiles and it was now suddenly a two-point game with 12 minutes to half-time.
Both sides were heavy on the errors and with time just up in the first half, a point separated the sides. However, a late rally in injury time from the home side saw them kick three points, the pick of which came from Niall McNamee as they went in 0-10 to 1-3 up at the break.
Offaly once again made a bright start and hit the first four points after the restart, with Allen again the chief tormenter as he took his tally to ten points.
Conor Doran was doing his best at the other end to stem the tide, but just as they had it back to a four-point game, Offaly struck with a well-worked goal that saw Ruairi McNamee finish from close range to make it 1-14 to 1-7.
Once again, London refused to wilt and three points on the spin, including a belter from Lorcan Mulvey, had them back within touch.
That was as good as it got for them, though, as Offaly’s fitness told in the closing 10 minutes. Niall McNamee kicked two while captain Niall Darby also chipped in with one as the Offaly men opened out a 1-19 to 1-11 lead with five minutes to go.
Offaly advance to the second round of qualifiers while London’s year comes to an abrupt conclusion.
Scorers – Offaly: B Allen 0-11 (0-5f), R McNamee 1-1, A Sullivan and N McNamee 0-3 each, N Darby, C Mangan and S Tierney 0-1 each. London: C Doran 0-6 (0-3f), K Butler 1-1, F McMahon 0-2, L Mulvey and L Gavaghan 0-1 each.
Offaly: P Dunican; D Dempsey, E Rigney, D Hogan; C Donohoe, J Moloney, N Darby; E Carroll, P Cunningham; S Horan, A Sullivan, C Mangan; B Allen, N McNamee, R McNamee. Subs: J O’Connor for C Donohoe (28), P McConway for S Horan (62), M Abbott for C Mangan (63), S Tierney for R McNamee (66), S Nally for N McNamee (68), C Carroll for E Carroll (70).
London: G McEvoy; P Butler, M Moynihan, C O’Neill; D Carrabine, M Clarke, E Flanagan; A McDermott, L Feerick; M Gottsche, L Gavaghan, F McMahon; K Butler, C Doran, B Tully. Subs: N Maher for G McEvoy (h-t), L Mulvey for B Tully (47), L Gallagher for A McDermott (47), A McGarvey for D Carrabine (54), D Dunne for F McMahon (67).
Referee: N Mooney (Cavan).
Sunday Indo Sport