There were mixed results for Offaly football teams in action on Saturday. The under 20 side retained the Liam O’Connor Cup with a 4-7 to 3-7 victory over Clare, but the senior side lost their opening game in the Allianz League to Cork by 0-20 to 0-13.
The U20s made the long trip to Milltown Malbay, where they had been beaten by Clare in this competition a few weeks ago.
However, on this occasion Declan Kelly’s charges hit the ground running and hit four first half goals, compliments of Mikey Cunningham (two), Jack Bryant and Bill Carroll.
Offaly led by 4-3 to 2-5 at half time and four second half points were sufficient to ensure a morale-boosting win ahead of their championship outing away to Louth on Saturday week.
Later in the evening, at Pairc Ui Chaoimh, Offaly produced a stirring first half display but Cork gradually got on top and ran out seven point winners.
The turning point was a harsh black card shown to Bernard Allen approaching half time which, under the new rules, reduced Offaly to 14 players for ten minutes.
Allen and Anton Sullivan were causing consternation for the Cork backs, while Ruairi McNamee was also showing well up front. After going 0-3 to 0-1 behind, Offaly hit six points without reply during a blistering period. Paddy Dunican pulled off a great save during this spell while the backs made some crucial interceptions.
Offaly led by two before Allen’s black card, but still held a 0-9 to 0-8 advantage at the interval. However, Cork took control in the second half, with substitute Michael Hurley to the fore. Offaly almost got through for a goal through Ruairi McNamee, but a couple of frees were missed and Cork ended up surging clear with some well-taken points.
Offaly must now focus on a home game against Longford next Sunday.
Offaly: P Dunican; D Hogan, E Rigney, N Darby; E Carroll, D Dempsey, J Hayes; C Mangan, M Brazil; S Horan, R McNamee (0-4, 2f), C McNamee; C Johnson (0-1), B Allen (0-4, 1f), A Sullivan (0-4).
Subs: R McEvoy for C McNamee; C Donohue for McEvoy; M Abbott for C Johnson; J Dempsey for Brazil; C Donnelly for Horan.