Offaly 1-16 Antrim 1-15
Páirc Tailteann, Navan.
Referee: J McGrath (Westmeath)
Offaly continued their fine run of form under new manager Michael Fennelly when claiming a late win over Antrim.
Páirc Tailteann in Navan played host to the clash of two teams, by now all too familiar with each other. The Faithful County started the better, with Liam Langton and Oisín Kelly finding range early on to leave them 0-04 to 0-00 up. This early barrage sparked Antrim into life and they went onto score the next 3 on the bounce with Keelan Molloy and Neil McManus to the fore. Offaly then looked to impose their physicality on Antrim throughout the remainder of the half and went in at the break 0-09 to 0-07 up.
The second half started in a similar vein to the first with Offaly scoring freely through Sean Cleary, Leon Fox and another Liam Langton place ball. From here it looked like they might kick on. However, inaccurate shooting meant they were unable to convert pressure into scores and Antrim remained in touch through the ever present Neil McManus.
The game then really kicked into gear in the closing stages. Brian Duignan latched onto a long delivery and duly dispatched what looked to be the winning score. Antrim had other ideas and the equaliser came in injury time through fellow substitute Daniel McCloskey. Penalties looked on the cards until Oisín Kelly popped up with a fine individual score that ensure the Kehoe Cup would be staying in the midlands for 2020.
Both teams can take a lot from the game, having to dig deep at different stages. No doubt both will be hoping it has set them up for what can be good years ahead.
OFFALY: J Dempsey; B Walkins, D Egan, P Rigney; M Cleary, B Conneely, D Doughan; B Murphy, L Fox (0-2); S Kinsella (0-2), P Geraghty (0-2), O Kelly (0-2); L Langton (0-4, three frees, one 65), S Cleary (0-2), T Geraghty.
Subs: D King for Walkins (h/t), D Nally (0-2, one free) for Murphy (49 mins), P Kinsella for Cleary (51), B Duignan (1-0) for Geraghty (62), K Dunne for Fox (65), J Sampson for S Kinsella (68), R Ravinhill for Langton (71).
ANTRIM: R Elliott; P Duffin, M Donnelly, S Rooney; G Walsh, C Boyd, E Campbell; K Molloy (0-5), N McKeague; M Bradley, N McManus (0-9, five frees, two 65s), J McNaughton; D Nugent, A Delargy, N McKenna (0-1).
Subs: Conor Johnston for McKeague, R Molloy for Delargy (both 42 mins), A O’Brien for Boyd, R McCambridge for Bradley (both 46), D McCloskey (1-0) for McKenna (54), C McHugh for Rooney (67).