Westmeath and Offaly play out entertaining draw in the O'Byrne Cup
Westmeath 0-11 Offaly 0-11
A fine point deep into added-time from arguably the best player on show, Westmeath’s Paddy Fagan, earned his side a deserved draw against Offaly in an entertaining O’Byrne Cup encounter played in reasonably pleasant conditions at St Loman’s Lakepoint Park in Mullingar this afternoon.
There was very little between the teams in a hard-fought first half where the midland rivals shared just three wides - two of them by the home side - and at the end of which the visitors led by 0-6 to 0-4. Four of Offaly’s points came from placed balls – two each from Bernard Allen (the first after he had claimed a mark) and Shane Tierney. For Westmeath, lively wing forward Fagan scored a fine brace from open play.
With both of their interval subs, Ger Egan and Ronan O’Toole, regularly to the fore, four unanswered points in the third quarter – the best of them from powerful centre half back Kieran Martin in the 52nd minute – put Jack Cooney’s men ahead by 0-8 to 0-6. However, a quality brace in quick succession from impressive corner forward Allen and a converted free by Tierney soon edged John Maughan’s troops ahead. It looked like Tierney’s fourth successful free in 68th minute had nudged Offaly over the line until Egan teed up Fagan for a last-gasp equaliser.
Westmeath: P Fagan 0-4, R O’Toole 0-3 (1f), K Martin 0-2 (1f), J Maxwell, G Egan (f) each.
Offaly: B Allen 0-5 (3f), S Tierney 0-4 (4f), N Darby, A Sullivan 0-1 each.
Westmeath: E Carberry; N O’Reilly, R Wallace, K Daly; S Duncan, K Martin, D Lynch; S Flanagan, N Mulligan; A McGivney, C McCormack, P Fagan; J Maxwell, J Halligan, T McDaniel. Subs: G Egan for McGivney (h-t), R O’Toole for McDaniel (h-t), G Leech for McCormack (44), D Giles for Maxwell (45), S Pettit for Flanagan (51), B Sayeh for Daly (69), N Cully for Mulligan (70).
Offaly: B Rohan; D Hogan, D Dempsey, E Rigney; C Donohoe, P McConway, J O’Connor; C Mangan, A Leavy; N Bracken, A Sullivan, N Darby; B Allen, J Moloney, S Tierney. Subs: M Abbott for Bracken (51), C Horan for Mangan (51), K Higgins for Leavy (60), C Carroll for Sullivan (70).
Ref: D Fedigan (Louth).