Longford lose out to Offaly in 1st round of Allianz League

Longford lose out to Offaly in 1st round of Allianz League.

  • Offaly 0-12
  • Longford 0-10

By Deniese O’Flaherty

A strong second half comeback saw Offaly come from three behind at the break to claim a two point win over Longford in the first game of the Division 3 campaign.

It was a poor second half display from Longford who despite having numerous chances failed to score in those 35 plus minutes. Their misery compounded at the end when Captain Michael Quinn received a straight red card.

Longford manager Denis Connerton had hoped his side’s fortunes on the road would continue but this was Longford’s third win in January away from home, after losing to Westmeath and Meath in the O’Byrne Cup.

The disappointing thing from a Longford perspective was that the two points were there for Longford. Even with missed opportunities they had chances at the end to come away with a point but they failed to put the ball over the bar, Offaly went down the field and despite Quinn putting in a fantastic tackle he was penalised and Sean Doyle slotted over the free to give Offaly a two point lead. Just over a minute later Quinn received his marching orders.

Early points were traded between Barry McKeon and Niall McNamee before Longford took a two point lead with points from Francie McGee (free) and a lovely score from Quinn.

Offaly though were level in the 13th minute and went ahead in the 15th minute. They had a chance to go further ahead a few minutes when they were awarded a penalty; Fergal Battrim fouled Conor McNamee, Anton Sullivan stepped up to take the spot-kick but put it wide of the post.

Two McKeon frees, a point from McGee and a fantastic score from Quinn put Longford ahead by three in the 26th minute but three points in quick succession save Offaly level the game in the 29th minute.

Longford responded in fine fashion and two McKeon points and an Andrew Dalton point gave them a three point lead going in at half-time.

Offaly started the second half very well and points from Graham Guilfoyle, Niall McNamee and Bernard Allen saw them draw level in the 46th minute.

Both sides squandered chances as conditions began to get bad. McGee hit short a free to give Longford the lead again and after kicking a number of wides Bernard Allen put the home side in the front for only the second time since the 15th minute.

Longford huffed and puffed but couldn’t get a score and with time running out Offaly were awarded a free which Doyle pointed over to put his side in front by two. A late Longford fightback was dealt a blow in stoppage time when Quinn was sent off and Offaly held on for the two points.

Offaly: A Mulhall; B Darby, E Rigney, S Pender; N Darby (0-1), J Moloney, J O’Connor; G Guilfoyle (0-2), J Gettings; C McNamee, M Brazil, A Sullivan; B Allen (0-5,1f), N Dunne, N McNamee (0-3).

Subs: C Donoghue for Moloney (22), R McNamee for Dunne (50), S Doyle (0-1,1f) for Sullivan (56), S Moriarty for R McNamee (bc, 70).

Longford: P Collum; D Brady, B Gilleran, CP Smyth; A Dalton (0-1), D McElligott, F Battrim; M Brady, B Farrell; B McKeon (0-5,3f), F McGee (0-2,1f), J McGivney; R Smyth, L Connerton, M Quinn (0-2).

Subs: B Kavanagh for R Smyth (19), R Connor for Farrell (29), P McKeon for Connerton and S Doyle for Dalton (51), D Reynolds for C Smyth (65), M Hughes for Battrim (69)

Referee: Fergal Barry (Kildare)