O’Byrne Cup Semi-Final: Offaly 0-16, Westmeath 0-11
Offaly advanced to the O’Byrne Cup senior football final with five points to spare over Westmeath at Bord na Mona O’Connor Park on Saturday, 11th January.
The victory sets up a decider against Longford next Saturday, after they edged out Dublin in the other semi-final.
With players forced to contend with a wet surface and blustery conditions, John Maughan will have been pleased that his side dug out another win.
Offaly led by 0-8 to 0-7 at half time and gradually pulled away when assisted with the wind in the second half, as Westmeath struggled without key forwards John Heslin and Kieran Martin.
Both sides were reliant on their free takers with Bernard Allen kicking three in the opening half for Offaly, while Callum McCormack hit a brace for Westmeath.
The visitors looked like edging it at half time as points from Callum McCormack and Lorcan Dolan left them 0-7 to 0-5 ahead on 28 minutes.
However, Offaly finished the half strong and three points in a row from Paddy Dunican (free),
Cathal Mangan and Jordan Hayes left the home side 0-8 to 0-7 in front at the break.
Offaly held Westmeath scoreless for the opening 18 minutes of the second half and, at the other end, Bernard Allen kept increasing his tally as the gap went out to six points.
Westmeath briefly rallied, but substitute Cian Farrell helped ensure Offaly would progress with two points after his introduction.
Scorers: Offaly – B Allen 0-8 frees, J Hayes and C Farrell (0-1 mark) 0-2 each, R McNamee (free), P
Dunican (free), C Mangan and C Johnson 0-1 each.
Westmeath – Callum McCormack 0-5 (0-3f), L Dolan and Conor McCormack (0-1f) 0-2 each, L
Loughlin (free), A Neary 0-1 each.
OFFALY: P Dunican; D Dempsey, E Rigney, N Darby; E Carroll, S Nally, J Hayes; M Brazil, C Mangan; J
Dempsey, R McNamee, C McNamee; C Johnson, B Allen, A Sullivan. Subs: C Donohoe for J Dempsey
(H/T), R McEvoy for C McNamee (49m), B Darby for S Nally (54m), C Farrell for A Sullivan (58m), A
Leavy for (M Brazil (61m), C Donnelly for R McNamee (67m).
WESTMEATH: J Daly; R Wallace, B Sayeh, K Maguire; K Daly, C Slevin, A McGivney; D Corroon, N
Mulligan; N O’Reilly, J Dolan, D Lynch; L Dolan, Callum McCormack, Conor McCormack. Subs: A Neary
for N O’Reilly (H/T), C Coughlan for N Mulligan (H/T), A Stone for Conor McCormack (58m), L
Loughlin for L Dolan (61m), E Carberry for J Daly (66m), C Dillon for A McGivney (68m), S Connolly for C Slevin (70m).