Friday 23 February 2018

Impressive wins for Offaly and Fermanagh as both counties earn provincial quarter-final berths

Offaly beat Longford by eight points in Tullamore today to advance to the Leinster Championship quarter-finals where they will meet Westmeath.

Longford were in the driving seat in the early stages when Barry McKeon scored a freak goal.

Offaly goalkeeper Alan Mulhall badly misjudged a weak effort which hopped in front of him, allowing it to bounce over his head and into the net.

The hosts responded well, however, and a more conventional finish from Graham Guilfoyle put them a point up after 11 minutes.

The teams traded points before Offaly took control of the game in a sizzling fifteen-minute display before half time.

Eight unanswered points in a row put Offaly 1-12 to 1-6 in front at the break.

Longford were handed a lifeline early in the second half when they were awarded a penalty following a foul on Robbie Smyth.

However, Brian Kavanagh's effort came back off the post.

Offaly effectively ended the game as a contest when Niall Smith scored their second goal of the match in the 60th minute.

Robbie Smyth grabbed a second goal for Longford but Offaly were not to be denied and they saw out the match with relative ease to secure a deserved 2-21 to 2-13 victory.

Fermanagh will meet Donegal in the Ulster Championship quarter-finals after they beat Antrim by six points at Brewster Park.

In a low-quality contest, Antrim rarely threatened to cause an upset.

Indeed, it took the visitors 22 minutes to register their first of the match when Brian Neeson knocked over a '45'.

By that stage Fermanagh had raised the white flag six times and were already firmly in control of proceedings.

The Erne men led 0-9 to 0-2 at half time, with Seán Quigley and Tomás Corrigan among the scorers.

To their credit, Antrim chipped away at their lead bravely in the second half and they managed to reduce the deficit to three points at one stage.

However, Quigley fired home the only goal of the game to put the result beyond all doubt and book Fermanagh's spot in the next round.

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