Saturday 21 April 2018

Whelahan delight at Offaly heart and passion

Offaly 1-17 Antrim 0-14

Stephen McAfee, Antrim, in action against Thomas Geraghty, right, Offaly
Stephen McAfee, Antrim, in action against Thomas Geraghty, right, Offaly

Offaly manager Brian Whelahan saw his side register a six-point win over Antrim in his first competitive game in charge. His side came back from a four-point deficit at half-time to steamroll the visitors, with Joe Bergin in inspiring form at centre-forward.

WALSH CUP SH

Whelahan was delighted with the second-half performance. "People might not realise but that is only our third game since we got together as a panel," he said "It took a long time to gel and Antrim played an extra man in midfield. Peter Geraghty dropped out in the second half and got on top.

"I am delighted with the Offaly team. They showed great heart and passion for the jersey."

Antrim had led by 0-9 to 0-3 after 31 minutes, but two frees from Joe Bergin before half-time gave Offaly a massive boost as they turned around for the second half only four points down.

The crucial score came in the 56th minute when Antrim centre-back Conor McKinley handpassed the ball into his own net having come under pressure from Sean Gardner. That left the Offaly men 1-13 to 0-12 ahead with 14 minutes to play and they eased home with Bergin and the Geraghty twins -- Thomas and Peter --in full flight in the forward line.

"Galway is a big step up next week," Whelahan added.

"We are not going to have too many lads back to meet that challenge as regards established players but it's a great game for these lads to get."

Scorers -- Offaly: J Bergin 0-9 (7fs), C McKinley 1-0 (own goal), T Geraghty 0-2, D Morkan, S Cleary, P Geraghty, D Kilmartin, B Harding and K Connolly 0-1 each. Antrim: N McManus 0-4 (3fs), C Clarke 0-3 (2fs), S McAfee, B McFall and D McKernan 0-2 each, J McCreevey 0-1.

OFFALY -- J Dempsey; N Wynne, D Kelleher, J Rigney; D Morkan, B Watkins, D Mooney; G Conneely, K Brady; S Cleary, J Bergin, P Geraghty; K Connolly, S Gardner, T Geraghty. Subs: D Kilmartin (for Conneely 57), B Harding (for Cleary 57).

ANTRIM -- S McToal; C Johnson, E Campbell, M Bradley; S McCrory, C McKinley, P Shields; B McFall, J McCreevey; S McAfee, M Donnelly, N McKenna; D McKernan, N McManus, C Clarke. Subs: C Carson (for Donnelly h-t), C Heyden (for McToal h-t), C McGuinness (for McAfee 47), N Elliot (for Clarke 47), T O Ciarain (for McKenna 64).

Ref -- P O'Dwyer (Carlow)

Irish Independent

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