Longford Promoted after Offaly win

Longford 0-13 Offaly 0-10 U21 star Ross McNerney came off the bench to help Longford gain promotion to Division 3 at the expense of Offaly who finished the game with 12 men. The Faithful County’s discipline let them down with Paul McConway receiving a straight red in the 27th minute and Graham Guilfoyle and Niall Smith both picked up second yellows in the second half. With so much at stake the quality of football was poor and the weather didn’t help conditions either with swirling wind and rain. Offaly started the game well but Longford worked hard to get back into the game. Despite going a man down in that first half Offaly held a one point lead at the break with Bernard Allen being their main man. Johnny Maloney put Offaly in front by two just after the interval but Fergal Battrim and Paul McKeon levelled for Longford. Jack Sheedy’s side had possession after that but made too many mistakes and failed to get scores. In the 42nd minute Eoin Carroll put Offaly in front again but minutes later they were reduced to 13 when Guilfoyle got a second yellow. McKeon (free) drew Longford level but despite being two men down Offaly created a goal chance in the 54th minute; Longford keeper Paddy Collum had to be alert to save from Bernard Allen. Longford wasted scoring opportunities before they took the lead in the 62nd minute when McNerney pointed a free. He followed that up with an excellent point from play. Kavanagh and McNerney hit over frees to give Longford a four point lead with four minutes to play. Offaly’s misery was compounded in the 69th minute when Niall Smith received a second yellow for time wasting. Niall McNamee hit over a free in stoppage time as Longford were promoted. Offaly face Antrim in a final showdown next Sunday where a draw would see them join Longford in Division 3. Longford: Paddy Collum; Dermot Brady, Barry O’Farrell, Peter Foy; Colm P Smyth, Diarmuid Masterson, Enda Williams; Barry Gilleran, Kevin Diffley; Michael Quinn, Paul McKeon (0-4,2f), Ronan McEntire; Brian Kavanagh (0-3,3f), Sean McCormack (0-1), Francis McGee (0-1). Subs: Fergal Battrim (0-1) for O’Farrell inj (10), Shane Doyle for McEntire black card (43), Liam Connerton for McCormack (53), Ross McNerney (0-3,2f) for McKeon (61), Pauric Gill for McGee (70) Offaly: Alan Mulhall; Brian Darby, Paul McConway, Joseph O’Connor; David Brady, Johnny Maloney (0-1), Niall Darby; Graham Guilfoyle, Niall Smith; Evan Carroll (0-1), Niall McNamee (0-3,1f), Anton O’Sullivan; Bernard Allen (0-5,2f), Nigel Dunne, William Mulhall. Subs: John Ledwith for Dunne (32), Jamie Evans for Allen and Nigel Bracken for Carroll (61), Niall Geraghty for Mulhall and Peter Cunningham for O’Sullivan (70), Declan Hogan for Brady (71) Referee: Brendan Cawley (Kildare)