Friday 19 October 2018

Offaly cut loose to get season back on track

Offaly 2-20 Antrim 1-15

Patrick McAleer of Antrim in action against James Lalor, right, and Conor McNamee of Offaly during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 1 match between Offaly and Antrim at Bord Na Mona O'Connor Park in Tullamore, Offaly. Photo: Sportsfile
Patrick McAleer of Antrim in action against James Lalor, right, and Conor McNamee of Offaly during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 1 match between Offaly and Antrim at Bord Na Mona O'Connor Park in Tullamore, Offaly. Photo: Sportsfile

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Offaly went some way to putting their Leinster championship defeat to Wicklow behind them as new manager Paul Rouse saw his charges account for Antrim. With eight points to spare in the end, Offaly racked up an impressive 2-20 while playing the last 25 minutes with 14 men as Nigel Dunne was sent off on a straight red card.

The recently returned John Moloney stood out, while Bernard Allen top scored with 1-3, his goal with 20 minutes to go putting the result beyond doubt.

Dunne kicked two early points but Ryan Murray landed a superb point from distance for Antrim and Patrick McBride slotted two frees as the visitors went 0-5 to 0-3 ahead. Offaly finished the half strongly, with John Moloney kicking two good scores either side of Michael Brazil's effort, to take a 0-11 to 0-8 half-time lead.

Brian Darby's fine score helped stretch the lead, and although Dunne's dismissal gave Antrim a lift - they got points from Patrick McAleer and McBride - Offaly made light of their disadvantage and Bernard Allen found the net on 50 minutes to make it 1-15 to 0-11. Allen kicked another beauty and Moloney tagged on a free as the advantage extended to 1-17 to 0-13 with 10 minutes to go.

Offaly goalkeeper Alan Mulhall came up the field to land two frees while substitute Shane Tierney also kicked over a dead ball as the tempo dropped.

Antrim tried hard to tag on late consolation scores with Michael McCarry grabbing a neat point before the sides traded late goals in injury time, through Jamie Evans and James Smith.

Tierney completed the scoring as Offaly got their championship back on track.

Scorers - Offaly: B Allen 1-3 (0-1f), J Moloney 0-4 (0-1f), N Dunne 0-3, J Evans 1-0, S Tierney, A Mulhall (2fs) 0-2 each, B Darby, N Darby, M Brazil, C Donohoe, S Nally, C McNamee 0-1 each. Antrim: P McBride 0-7 (0-3f), J Smith 1-0, S Beatty, C Duffin 0-2 each, P McAleer, R Murray, M McCarry, K Healy 0-1 each.

Offaly: A Mulhall; B Darby, J Lalor, S Pender; D Hogan, P McConway, N Darby; J Moloney, M Brazil; C Donohoe, S Nally, C McNamee; B Allen, A Sullivan, N Dunne. Subs: R McNamee for Nally (44), J Evans for Donohoe (58), S Tierney for Allen (64), D Dempsey for Hogan (66), E Carroll for Moloney (70).

Antrim: A Hasson; K O'Boyle, P Gallagher, N Delargy; P Healy, M Sweeney, J Laverty; P McAleer, C Murray, R McCann; K Healy, R Murray, C Duffin. Subs: S Beatty for Murray (22), N McKeever for O'Boyle (28),M McCarry for McKeever (53), J Smith for McCann (53), O Eastwood for Healy (58), P Branagan for Laverty (60).

Referee: M McNally (Monaghan)

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