HOT Division 4 promotion favourites Offaly were given the fright of their lives yesterday by a battling Waterford in Tullamore.
Just two points, 0-13 to 1-8, separated the teams at the end of a mediocre game, leaving the Leinster side very relieved at the final whistle.
With just 12 minutes left, Waterford found themselves within sight of a shock win after an opportunist Ger Power goal stunned the home side.
That tied the score at 0-10 to 1-7 and while Offaly out-scored their opponents by three points to one in the remaining minutes, they were unconvincing.
Offaly could have found the net twice in the opening minutes but then the game turned into a real dogfight. The sides were level at 0-3 each by the 26th minute before Offaly produced their best football to lead by 0-8 to 0-3 at the break.
By the 14th minute of the second half, Waterford had cut the deficit to two points, 0-8 to 0-6. Two Niall McNamee frees gave Offaly some breathing space but a Patrick Hurney point and Power's goal put the game back in the melting pot. A super free from Ciaran McManus -- one of the few players to drive Offaly on -- put them back in the lead and they just held on.
SCORERS -- Offaly: N McNamee 0-4 (2f), P Kellaghan, J Reynolds and C McManus (2f) 0-2 each, A McNamee, T Deehan and N Grennan 0-1 each. Waterford: G Power 1-0, L O Lionain and C Power (2f) 0-2 each, S Briggs, G Hurney (f), P Hurney and A Hubbard (f) 0-1 each.
OFFALY -- P Kelly; G Rafferty, S Sullivan, B Darby; P McConway, S Brady, N Grennan; A McNamee, C McManus; J Reynolds, N Coughlan, N Smith; P Kellaghan, T Deehan, N McNamee. Subs: K Casey for N Coughlan (ht), J Coughlan for Casey (64).
WATERFORD -- S Enright; M O'Gorman, T O'Gorman, J Walsh; E Rockett, S Briggs, J Phelan; M Ahearne, G Hurney; L O'Lionain, G Power, P Hurney; T Grey, A Hubbard, C Power. Subs: S Cunningham for Grey (56), K O'Keeffe for Power (64), L Lawlor for Hubbard (67).
REF -- J Curley (Meath).