Saturday 24 August 2019

Niall McNamee double helps Offaly swat Sligo aside in Qualifiers

OFFALY 3-17 SLIGO 0-15

Niall McNamee of Offaly celebrates after scoring his side's first goal
Niall McNamee of Offaly celebrates after scoring his side's first goal
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Bigger tests await for Offaly in Round 3 of the Qualifiers – heir first time to reach that stage since 2010 – after a comprehensive defeat of Sligo at Bord na Móna O'Connor Park this afternoon.

First-half goals from Niall McNamee and Shane Horan followed by another from McNamee in the second period helped John Maughan's men continue their impressive form and book their place in tomorrow's Qualifier draw.

For Paul Taylor's Sligo, it's the end of the road of a season which has been bitterly disappointing as they finish 2019 without a win.

There was only one team in it in the early exchanges with the in-form Faithful hitting the ground running from the off to scorch into a 2-3 to 0-2 lead after 13 minutes.

McNamee fired to the Sligo net on ten minutes after collecting a long delivery from Peter Cunningham and they would breach the Yeats defence again three minutes later.

A sweeping team move started with a catch from Cathal Mangan and resulted in Eoin Carroll bearing down on goal before a nice sequence of passes saw Horan palm to an empty net.

Paddy O'Connor led the fightback for Sligo, however, and he was unlucky to see his 21st minute shot expertly saved by Paddy Dunican as they worked themselves back into the game.

Captain Niall Murphy was always dangerous in attack and they finished with a flourish to go in five down at the break, 2-8 to 0-9, despite playing against a decent breeze in the opening half.

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The first few scores of the new half were always going to be crucial and when Offaly hit 1-3 without reply the game was essentially over as a contest.

Goalkeeper Dunican continued his impeccable dead-ball taking while McNamee's 40th minute goal finished another fine move to highlight the home side's dominance as they ran out 11-point winners.

SCORERS – Offaly: N McNamee 2-2 (0-1f), S Horan 1-1, B Allen 0-4 (1f), P Dunican 0-3f, C Mangan 0-2, P Cunningham, A Sullivan, E Carroll, N Darby, D Dempsey 0-1 each.

Sligo: N Murphy 0-4 (1f), P O'Connor, S Carrabine (2f), D Cummins, P Hughes 0-2 each, B Gorman, D Quinn, P Kilcoyne 0-1 each.

OFFALY – P Dunican; D Hogan, E Rigney, D Dempsey; C Donohoe, J Moloney, N Darby; E Carroll, P Cunningham; S Horan, A Sullivan, C Mangan; B Allen, N McNamee, R McNamee.

Subs: M Abbott for R McNamee (51), P McConway for Sullivan (63), J O'Connor for Mangan (65), S Tierney for McNamee (69), C Horan for Hogan (71), N Bracken for Horan (73).

SLIGO – E Kilgannon; P McNamara, P Laffey, N Mullen; D Cummins, K Cawley, G O'Kelly-Lynch; A McIntyre, P Kilcoyne; K McKenna, P O'Connor, Mickey Gordon; S Carabbine, P Hughes, N Murphy.

Subs: N Ewing for K McKenna (10 black card), D Quinn for O'Connor (30 blood sub), O'Connor for Quinn (31), B Gorman for Mickey Gordon (48), JF Carr for O'Kelly-Lynch (51), L Nicholson for McIntyre (57), D Quinn for O'Connor (62), B McGowan for Carrabine (72).

REF – B Cawley (Kildare)

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