Leinster Senior Football Championship Round One
Offaly 1-12 Longford 1-11
By Deniese O’Flaherty at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park
A point from substitute Bernard Allen proved to be the difference as Offaly defeated neighbours Longford to advance to the quarter-finals of the Leinster Championship.
Longford will be disappointed with the way they gave the ball away cheaply on numerous occasions. Offaly turned over the ball 12 times in the second half alone when Longford were in possession.
In a game that had some superb scores, good play and mistakes, the sides were level five times. Longford had chances near the end to bring the game to extra-time, but Offaly held firm.
Despite playing against a strong wind in the opening half the Faithful County made a great start to the game. Jamie Evans got their first point in the fourth minute. Two minutes later Ruairi McNamee passed to Peter Cunningham who fired an excellent shot to the net.
Darren Gallagher pointed over a free in the 13th minute for Longford’s first score. That was cancelled out by a Cian Farrell point. Then Longford took control of the game with Gallagher kicking over two fantastic points. Joseph Hagan hit over an excellent score to level matters in the 24th minute. Two points from Hagan and Dylan Farrell gave Longford a top point lead in the 28th minute.
Offaly were level going in at the break with Nigel Dunne kicking over a fine effort followed by a McNamee point to leave the score 1-04 to 0-07.
Just like the first half Offaly started the second half well and opened up a two point lead in the 41st minute. Longford turned the game in their advantage in the 43rd minute when the superb Gallagher fisted the ball to the net; it was a move that he had started by winning possession in the middle of the park.
Offaly, though, were level again on 49 minutes when Cian Farrell hit over a mark. It really was end to end stuff. The lead changed twice in the space of one minute before another Hagan point drew the sides level for a fifth time in the 65th minute.
Cunningham and Allen edged Offaly ahead by two in the 69th minute. Longford’s Andrew Farrell fisted his effort wide in stoppage time. Iarla O’Sullivan cut the gap to one in the third minute of stoppage time. Longford couldn’t get a equaliser as Offaly held on for a meeting with Meath.
Scorers for Offaly: Peter Cunningham 1-1, Cian Farrell 0-3 (1m), Nigel Dunne 0-2 (1f), Jamie Evans 0-2, Lee Pearson 0-1, Ruairi McNamee 0-1, Dylan Hyland 0-1 (1f), Bernard Allen 0-1.
Scorers for Longford: Darren Gallagher 1-4 (2fs), Joe Hagan 0-3, Iarla O’Sullivan 0-1, Mickey Quinn 0-1, Dessie Reynolds 0-1, Dylan Farrell 0-1.
Offaly: Ian Duffy; Ciaran Donnelly, Declan Hogan, David Dempsey; Rory Egan, Peter Cunningham, Lee Pearson; Jack McEvoy, Conor McNamee; Cian Farrell, Ruairi McNamee, Anton Sullivan; Dylan Hyland, Nigel Dunne, Jamie Evans.
Subs: Bernard Allen for Evans (47), Joe Maher for Dunne (59), Bill Carroll for Hyland (60), Cian Donohoe for Donnelly (70+2), Jack Bryant for R McNamee (70+4).
Longford: Patrick Collum, Patrick Fox, Andrew Farrell, Bryan Masterson; Iarla O’Sullivan, Mickeyl Quinn, Ryan Moffett; Jack Macken, Darren Gallagher; Keelin McGann, Joe Hagan, Dessie Reynolds; Daniel Mimnagh, Daire O’Brien, Dylan Farrell.
Subs: Oran Kenny for McGann and Aaron Farrell for O’Brien (HT), Tadhg McNevin for Macken (47), Liam Connerton for Mimnagh (52), D Doherty for Kenny (65)
Referee: Sean Hurson (Tyrone).