Saturday 25 November 2017

Offaly hold on after McNamee sees red

Offaly 1-13 Sligo 0-14

Niall McNamee. Photo: Sportsfile
Niall McNamee. Photo: Sportsfile Newsdesk Newsdesk

Despite playing the last 10 minutes with 14 men, Offaly recorded their second win in Division 3 as they finished strongly to deny Sligo.

Offaly were the better team throughout but after failing to convert some gilt-edged chances, the dismissal of Niall McNamee on 60 minutes left them on edge as the game sat level.

McNamee kicked three points before his early shower while Nigel Dunne top-scored for the victors with five points as Niall Smith was also outstanding in the midfield sector. Nine yellow cards along with a black and a red card filled the notebook of referee Eamonn O'Grady as the game held a bite from start to finish.

Offaly were rampant in the early stages as they opened up a 0-4 to 0-0 lead inside five minutes with four different forwards opening their accounts. Sligo slowly came to terms with the game and with full-forward Niall Murphy to the fore, they got back to 0-4 to 0-3 after 10 minutes.

A brace of Nigel Dunne frees put the home side 0-6 to 0-4 ahead, but by the 29th minute, Sligo had edged in front as Offaly continued to waste while also gifting the Sligo free-takers - Murphy and Mark Breheny - chances to steer the away side into a 0-7 to 0-6 lead.

With five minutes left in the half, Offaly struck for goal, Nigel Bracken coolly dispatching to propel the Faithful to a 1-6 to 0-8 half-time lead.

Niall Murphy levelled things up after the restart before Offaly captain Alan Mulhall pulled off a point-blank save. Offaly then hit a brace in as many minutes as they commanded a 1-8 to 0-9 lead on 46 minutes.

Sligo half-time substitute Pat Hughes kicked his second point of the half on 52 minutes, while two points from the excellent Niall Murphy followed to put Sligo in the ascendency, 0-13 to 1-9, with 14 minutes left.

Niall McNamee was then harshly dismissed on a second yellow but that drove the home side on and they finished in style with outstanding points from Joey O'Connor and Anton Sullivan earning a second win.

Scorers - Offaly: N Dunne 0-5 (4f), N McNamee 0-3, N Bracken 1-0, J O'Connor, M Brazil, A Sullivan, B Allen (f), P Cunningham 0-1 each. Sligo: N Murphy 0-7 (4f), M Breheny 0-4 (3f), P Hughes 0-2, C Davey 0-1.

OFFALY - A Mulhall 8; D Brady 7, E Rigney 6, S Pender 7; C Donoghue 6, B Darby 7, J O'Connor 8; N Smith 9, G Guilfoyle 7; E Carroll 6, M Brazil 8, N Bracken 7; N Dunne 8, P Cunningham 7, N McNamee 8. Subs: J Moloney 8 for C Donoghue (h-t), A Sullivan 8 for P Cunningham (44), B Allen 7 for N Bracken (50), C McNamee 7 for E Carroll (58), S Doyle for N Dunne (69).

SLIGO - A Devaney 7; K McDonnell 6, E Flanagan 7, K Cawley 7; G O'Kelly-Lynch 6, B Egan 7, A McIntyre 6; C Breheny 6, E McHugh 7; N Ewing 7, M Breheny 7, N Gaughan 6; K Cawley 6, N Murphy 8, B Egan 6. Subs: D Maye 6 for K McDonnell (33), P Hughes 8 for B Egan (h-t), C Davey 7 for N Gaughan (BC, 44), C Harrison 6 for A McIntyre (55), M Gordon 6 for G O'Kelly-Lynch (63), K McDonnell for C Breheny (65).

Ref - E O'Grady (Leitrim)

Irish Independent

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