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Offaly secure Tailteann Cup quarter-final place as they ease past disappointing Wicklow

Offaly 0-18 Wicklow 0-10

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Jack Bryant of Offaly is tackled by Malachy Stone, left, and Zach Cullen of Wicklow during the Tailteann Cup match at O'Connor Park in Tullamore, Offaly. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Jack Bryant of Offaly is tackled by Malachy Stone, left, and Zach Cullen of Wicklow during the Tailteann Cup match at O'Connor Park in Tullamore, Offaly. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Jack Bryant of Offaly is tackled by Malachy Stone, left, and Zach Cullen of Wicklow during the Tailteann Cup match at O'Connor Park in Tullamore, Offaly. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Offaly booked their place in the last eight of the Tailteann Cup with a comprehensive defeat of Wicklow in Bord na Móna O'Connor Park this afternoon.

John Maughan's men always had the visitors at arm's length as Wicklow, jointly-managed by Alan Costello and Gary Duffy, saw their season come to a close against an Offaly side who had 10 different scorers.

Wicklow held hopes of an upset in Tullamore after earlier championship defeats over Laois and Waterford, but they never got motoring and notched just two points from play in a lack-lustre effort.

Wicklow, who famously won the last championship meeting between the sides in 2018 when Offaly were in disarray, opened the scoring in the second minute through a mark from ace marksman Kevin Quinn but they would really struggle for scores in the opening half.

Offaly were in far from vintage form in the opening minutes either, but they would fire over the next four points as they made the most of a decent wind at their backs.

Ruairí McNamee, last year's U-20 Player of the Year Jack Bryant and a brace from Anton Sullivan had them up and running with Wicklow forced to wait until the 18th minute for their next score, a free from goalkeeper Mark Jackson as Offaly led 0-4 to 0-2.

Offaly veteran Niall McNamee had been quiet until that point but he roared into the action with a point from play before a foul on the Rhode attacker led to a harsh black card for Wicklow defender Patrick O'Keane.

Offaly dominated affairs with the aid of an extra man and won the next 10 minutes 0-4 to 0-1 as they sailed into a six-point half-time lead, 0-9 to 0-3.

Wicklow had to wait until the 37th minute for their first point from play as Mark Kenny stroked over a point to cut the gap to four – following a Jackson free – but Niall McNamee (free) and Niall Darby had Offaly six ahead once again.

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Kenny and Bill Carroll traded scores but Offaly looked to be in complete control when 0-14 to 0-7 to the good before defender Cian Donohoe was shown a black card by referee Seán Lonergan in the 55th minute.

Eoin Darcy (free) cut the gap to six and Offaly had goalkeeper Paddy Dunican to thank after the Shamrocks net minder pulled off a spectacular save down low to deny Quinn a goal on the hour mark.

Offaly took that scare in their stride, however, to kick and they never looked like being threatened down the home straight as they booked their place in the last eight against either Carlow, Westmeath or New York next weekend.

Scorers – Offaly: N McNamee 0-5 (1f, 1m), R McNamee 0-3, J Bryant, A Sullivan 0-2 each, N Darby, J Hayes, B Carroll, M Abbott, K O'Neill, M Tynan 0-1 each. Wicklow: M Jackson 0-3 (2f, 0-1 '45), E Darcy 0-3f, M Kenny, K Quinn (2m) 0-2 each.

Offaly: P Dunican; N Darby, D Hogan, L Pearson; R Egan, J Moloney, C Donohoe; C McNamee, J Hayes; B Carroll, R McNamee, A Sullivan; J Bryant, N McNamee, K O'Neill. Subs: M Tynan for C McNamee inj (40), C Flynn for Sullivan (48), M Abbott for Bryant (58), K Dolan for Pearson inj (62), J McEvoy for Hayes (69).

Wicklow: M Jackson; T Moran, P O'Keane, M Stone; O Cullen, Z Cullen, A Murphy; P O'Toole, JP Hurley; R Stokes, D Healy, J Kirwan; M Kenny, K Quinn, E Darcy. Subs: O McGraynor for Stokes (46), N Mulhall for Stone inj (48), P Cunningham for Kirwan (58), M Cullen for O'Toole (69).

Referee: S Lonergan (Tipperary).


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