Allianz Football League Div 3: Offaly 2-13, Louth 2-10
Offaly showed tremendous grit and determination to emerge from Drogheda with two valuable Allianz League points on Sunday.
It was a real backs-to-the-wall situation for Offaly in the closing stages as Louth clawed their way into contention when backed by a strong wind.
However, when only one point ahead, Offaly weathered the storm in more ways than one. Ruairi McNamee first converted a free and then added another from play to leave three points breathing space between the sides at the end.
After drawing with Longford in the second round, the victory will boost Offaly’s confidence ahead of their journey to Carrick on Shannon to face Leitrim next Sunday.
Offaly had a gale at their backs in the opening 35 minutes and hit the ground running with well-taken goals from Anton Sullivan and Ruairi McNamee. With Conor McNamee, Bernard Allen and Eoin Carroll contributing points, Offaly led by 2-4 to 0-0 after 16 minutes.
Net-minder Paddy Dunican was called upon to make a brilliant save before the home side got off the mark. But Offaly still held the upper hand and with Eoin Carroll chipping in with two more points from wing back, the scoreboard read 2-7 to 0-3 at the interval.
The omens looked very good for Offaly after the resumption, with well-taken points from Niall Darby and Ruairi McNamee.
But gradually Louth gained a foothold and a Sam Mulroy goal lifted their spirits. Shane Horan and Bernard Allen kept Offaly ticking over, but Louth hit a series of points and when a second goal was finished by Conor Grimes, the scoreboard suddenly read 2-11 to 1-10.
Another superb save by Dunican kept Offaly ahead and against the odds, with a draw looking on the cards, the Faithful County rolled up their sleeves and responded with two crucial points to ease the pressure in a very competitive Division 3.
OFFALY: Paddy Dunican; Colm Doyle, Eoin Rigney, Declan Hogan; Eoin Carroll (0-3), David Dempsey, Niall Darby (0-1); Conor McNamee (0-1), Michael Brazil; Cathal Mangan, Shane Horan (0-1), Ciaran Donnelly; Anton Sullivan (1-0), Bernard Allen (0-3), Ruiri McNamee (1-4, 0-1f).
Subs: Cian Donohue for C Donnelly (half time); Jordan Hayes for C McNamee (60 mins); Aaron Leavy for A Sullivan (68 mins); Cian Johnson for B Allen (70 mins).