John Kiely's Limerick kept their slim promotion hopes alive at the Gaelic Grounds, but were made to work for it by dogged Offaly. The hosts lost John Fitzgibbon to a straight red card in the first half, for a wild overhead swipe on Conor Doughan, but still managed to win.
Shane Dooley found himself on the losing side despite shooting 2-11, as Ronan Lynch hit 10 of his 11 Limerick points from placed balls.
Offaly had the numerical advantage from the 33rd minute, but despite hitting two goals in a minute in the second half, Dooley and Oisín Kelly raising green flags, Limerick collected seven of the remaining nine points.
At half-time Offaly led, having fallen six points down inside nine minutes, and Dooley bagged a levelling goal in the 27th minute. Another Dooley free stretched Offaly's lead to four after Fitzgibbon saw red but Limerick remained in touch with points from Lynch (free) and Gearoid Hegarty.
Andrew La Touche Cosgrave goaled early in the second half but Limerick still had work to do before winning.
Scorers - Limerick: R Lynch 0-11 (10f); A La Touche Cosgrave 1-1; G Hegarty 0-3; P Ryan, J Ryan 0-2 each; D Byrnes, J Fitzgibbon, D Dempsey, S Tobin, D O'Donovan & G Mulcahy 0-1 each. Offaly: S Dooley 2-11 (0-8f, 0-1 sl); O Kelly 1-0; C Doughan 0-2; C Kiely, E Nolan 0-1 each.
Limerick: D McCarthy; S Finn, R McCarthy, M Casey; S Hickey, D Byrnes, D Hannon; P Ryan, J Fitzgibbon; G Hegarty, D Dempsey, J Ryan; A La Touche Cosgrave, R Lynch, S Tobin.
Subs: D O'Donovan for P Ryan (55), G Mulcahy for Tobin (57), S Cahill for Finn (61), A Dempsey for La Touche Cosgrave (64).
Offaly: J Dempsey; M Cleary, P Delaney, P Rigney; S Ryan, D Short, B Conneely; P Guinan, C Doughan; S Cleary, S Dooley, O Kelly; E Nolan, C Kiely, P Geraghty. Subs: D Morkan for Guinan (h-t), A Cleary for Geraghty (49), J Mulrooney for Kiely (49), L Langton for Nolan (61), S Quirke for S Cleary (67).
Referee: F Horgan (Tipperary).
Sunday Indo Sport