Allianz Football League Division 3: Offaly 2-16, Leitrim 0-14
Second half goals by Ruairi McNamee and Cathal Mangan sent Offaly footballers to a comprehensive victory over Leitrim at Pairc Sean McDiarmuida.
With the home side reduced to 14 men shortly after the resumption, Offaly capitalised on their numerical advantage to finish with eight points to spare.
Coming hot on the heels of their win away to Louth last Sunday, Offaly now have five points from the last three matches and remain in the hunt for promotion from a very competitive Division 3.
The first half was closely-fought, with little to separate the sides. Leitrim forward Keith Beirne caused Offaly problems, but with Bernard Allen and Anton Sullivan on target, the scoreboard read 0-6 apiece after 25 minutes.
Offaly were then reduced to 14 players for ten minutes with a somewhat harsh black card shown to Eoin Rigney and Leitrim hit three points in a row. Crucially, though, Bernard Allen responded with a free and Paddy Dunican fired over another from long range just before the break, leaving Offaly only trailing by a single score (0-9 to 0-8).
Leitrim hit some poor wides early in the second half, and paid the price when Anton Sullivan equalised in the 43rd minute. Bernard Allen gave Offaly a lead they would never relinquish, and Leitrim’s Shane Quinn was dismissed to turn the tide even more in Offaly’s favour.
Soon after, Paddy Dunican came up to take another free and when his effort rebounded off the upright, Bernard Allen offloaded to Ruairi McNamee, who blasted to the net from close range. Leitrim briefly reduced the gap to three points, but Offaly’s second goal arrived in the 57th minute, when Cathal Mangan fisted the ball to the net after a flowing move up the field involving several players.
Offaly keeper Dunican made another crucial stop, on his way to keeping a third clean sheet from four games in this season’s league.
And it was more or less plain sailing from then on for Offaly, who finished with well-taken points by Michael Brazil, Ruairi McNamee and sub Cian Johnson.
Offaly Scorers: B Allen 0-5 (2f, 1m), R McNamee 1-1, A Sullivan 0-4 (1m), C Mangan 1-0, C Johnson 0-2 (1f), P Dunican (f), N Darby, M Brazil, A Leavy 0-1 each.
OFFALY: Paddy Dunican; Colm Doyle, Eoin Rigney, Declan Hogan; Eoin Carroll, David Dempsey, Niall Darby; Cathal Mangan, Michael Brazil; Shane Horan, Conor McNamee, Cian Donoghue; Bernard Allen, Anton Sullivan, Ruairi McNamee.
Subs: Aaron Leavy for C Doyle; Jordan Hayes for C Donoghue; Ronan McEvoy for C McNamee; Cian Johnson for B Allen; Ciaran Donnelly for R McNamee.