SHANE Dooley showed nerves of steel to rescue a draw for Offaly in Limerick last night. The corner-forward, who had missed a 42nd-minute penalty, stepped forward once again to drill an injury-time penalty to the net.
Dooley, who scored 2-5, had an incident-packed evening and also scored Offaly's first half goal. The visitors trailed by two points at half-time, however, as Niall Moran and Sean Tobin netted for Limerick.
The hosts led by 2-6 to 1-7 at the midway point in front of 2,274 spectators and were six points clear, 2-12 to 1-9, with 13 minutes remaining. But Offaly dug in and hit three goals down the home straight to salvage a draw -- as Limerick lost corner back Tom Condon to a second yellow card after Offaly sub Sean Ryan was fouled for the late penalty.
The first half was generally poor and error-ridden but still yielded three goals -- two of them for the home side. Offaly struck first in the 13th minute when Derek Morkan's delivery into the Limerick full-back line broke nicely for Dooley, who lashed the loose ball past Nickie Quaid.
That goal separated the sides for the next 15 minutes, before Limerick hit two before half-time to open up a 2-6 to 1-7 interval lead. Conor Allis knifed through the heart of the Offaly defence in the 28th minute before finding Niall for a neat improvised finish. On the stroke of half-time, sub Tobin shot across the boughs of the Kinnitty netminder.
Offaly also had a first-half goal ruled out, when Colin Egan was adjudged to have been in the square when he bundled the sliotar home after Brendan Murphy's shot was well-saved by Quaid.
Scorers -- Limerick: S Tobin 1-2, C Allis 0-4 (2f, 1 '65'), N Moran 1-0, T Quaid 0-3, D Breen, G Mulcahy 0-2 each, P Browne, N Maher, S O'Brien 0-1 each. Offaly: S Dooley 2-5 (1-0 pen, 0-3f, 0-1 '65', 0-1 sl), C Mahon, G Healion 1-0 each, B Murphy, J Rigney 0-2 each, D Horan 0-1.
Limerick: N Quaid; S Walsh, R McCarthy, T Condon; W McNamara, D O'Grady, G O'Mahoney; P Browne, J Ryan; N Maher, D Breen, C Allis; G Mulcahy, N Moran, T Quaid. Subs: S Tobin for Maher (27), K Downes for Moran (57), S O'Brien for Breen (63), M Ryan for T Quaid (73)
Offaly: J Dempsey; C McDonald, D Kenny, S Wynne; D Morkan, R Hanniffy, D Franks; D Horan, J Rigney; J Bergin, C Mahon, B Murphy; S Dooley, C Egan, J Mulrooney. Subs: G Healion for Egan (h-t), S Coughlan for Wynne (h-t), T Carroll for Mulrooney (49), S Ryan for Rigney (57), E Murphy for Hanniffy (70)
Referee: C McAllister (Cork)
Sunday Indo Sport