Down turn the screw in second half to end Offaly’s promotion bid

Allianz NFL Division 3 Down 1-18 Offaly 0-9

Liam Kerr

Down turned on the style in the second half to emphatically end Offaly's promotion bid in O'Connor Park on Sunday afternoon.

While out of promotion contention, Down were clearly not in the mood for handing out favours as well as laying down a marker for the championship.

They outscored Offaly by 1-9 to 0-3 in the second half for a very convincing win and they played some quality attacking football in this period. While Fermanagh's win over Cavan would have denied Offaly promotion in any event, their second-half collapse was surprising as their energy levels dipped completely.

Behind by 0-9 to 0-6 at half time after playing into the wind, Offaly were very much in the hunt. The sides had been level on five occasions before Down, with the Kilcoo contingent playing very well, scored four in a row to lead by four coming up to half time. An injury-time Bernard Allen point, that could have been a goal, stemmed the tide for Offaly.

Down upped the ante all over the field in the second half and Offaly found that they had no answers. Three points still separated the sides – 0-10 to 0-7 – after 44 minutes but an excellent Liam Kerr goal put Down in the driving seat. They went for the jugular ruthlessly, firing over six unanswered points in a relentless spell of pressure. Offaly were a beaten docket and Down won pulling up from here as they emptied their bench.

Scorere - Down: E Branagan and C McRickard 0-3 each, L Kerr 1-0, R Johnston, D Magill, P Havern and R Mason (f) 0-2 each, N Kane (f), R McEvoy, M Rooney, A Morgan 0-1 each. Offaly: N Dunne 0-3 (3f), B Allen 0-2, C Donohoe, C Farrell (f), J Bryant and A Sullivan 0-1 each.

DOWN - N Kane (6); P Fegan (6), R McEvoy (7), P Laverty (6); R Johnston (8), N McParland (6), G Collins (8); A Doherty (7), C Fitzpatrick (6); M Rooney (6), E Branagan (9), D Magill (7); L Kerr (7), P Havern (6), R Mason (7). Subs: D McAleenan (6) for Kerr (49m), C McRickard (8) for Havern (53m), A Morgan (6) for Fitzpatrick (57m), C Francis (6) for Johnston (58m), O McCabe (6) for McParland (65m),

OFFALY: I Duffy (8); C Donnelly (8), D Hogan (6), D Dempsey (6); L Pearson (8), P Cunningham (7), R Egan (6); J McEvoy (6), C McNamee (7); C Donohoe (6), R McNamee (7), A Sullivan (6); B Allen (6), N Dunne (7), D Hyland (6). Subs: J Bryant (6) for Dunne (47m), J Evans (6) for Donohoe (47m), J Maher (6) for Ruari McNamee (53m), B Carroll (6) for Hyland (53m), C Farrell (6) for Sullivan (59m),

Ref – S Mulhare (Laois).