Allianz National Football League Division Three (South)
Offaly 1-17 Tipperary 1-12
Kevin Egan at Bord na Móna O’Connor Park
Offaly continue to be one of the form teams in this year’s Allianz League after they recorded a third consecutive victory in Tullamore this afternoon, moving through the gears in the final quarter to condemn Munster champions Tipperary to a relegation playoff against Longford.
It was a difficult week in the county, particularly in the Rhode club, following the tragic death of Rhode goalkeeper Dean Morris during the week, and his club colleagues were clearly of a mind to put their best foot forward this afternoon, playing key roles all over the field.
Cian Farrell had been drafted into the starting team after kicking two points off the bench against Limerick last week and he kicked the first point of the game, before adding a goal to crown a strong first quarter for the home side. It was 1-6 to 0-4 when referee James Bermingham signalled for the first water break, and could have been even more as Bernard Allen shot just over the bar when trying to pick out a goal, while Jordan Hayes was also denied by a great goal-line clearance.
That stoppage completely killed their momentum however and with Conal Kennedy and Steven O’Brien taking over at midfield, each adding a point for good measure, Tipperary turned the tide after the restart.
A penalty goal from Conor Sweeney gave David Power’s side a one-point interval lead and they had the better of the third quarter too, but some errant shooting meant the game remained on a knife edge, tied at 1-11 each at the third stoppage. Tipperary continued to hold a slight advantage in the battle for kickouts, but Offaly’s high-tempo defending forced them into some poor shot choices, and it was only because of some excellent dead ball scores from Evan Comerford and Jack Kennedy that they were level.
The final quarter saw Offaly take over however, firing six points in a row before Tipperary registered a late consolation score. As he did last week against Limerick, Niall McNamee came off the bench to make a crucial contribution, kicking three points in the final quarter. With Tipperary forced to chase the game, Offaly looked fit and sharp as they struck on the break, Bill Carroll and David Dempsey adding excellent scores that set up a promotion tilt against Fermanagh in a fortnight.
Scorers for Offaly: C Farrell 1-3 (0-2f), A Sullivan, B Allen, P Dunican (0-2f, 0-1 ’45) & N McNamee 0-3 each, D Dempsey & B Carroll 0-1 each.
Scorers for Tipperary: C Sweeney 1-2 (1-0 pen, 0-1f), P Ryan 0-3 (0-1m), C Bowe 0-2, Conal Kennedy, S O’Brien, E Comerford (f), J Kennedy (45) & P Looram 0-1 each.
OFFALY: P Dunican; D Dempsey, E Rigney, N Darby; C Doyle, K Stewart, J Hayes; C Mangan, E Carroll; S Horan, P Cunningham, A Sullivan; B Allen, C Farrell, R McNamee.
Subs: J Lalor for Mangan (46), N McNamee for R McNamee (50), B Carroll for Sullivan (50), C Donohoe for Hayes (59), J Maher for Allen (59), A Leavy for E Carroll (62), R Egan for Doyle (70+2), C Donnelly for Dempsey (70+3, temp).
TIPPERARY: E Comerford; T Fitzgerald, J Feehan, A Campbell, Emmet Moloney, C O’Shaughnessy, P Feehan; S O’Brien, Conal Kennedy; B Fox, J Kennedy, C Bowe; Colman Kennedy, C Sweeney, S O’Connor
Subs: P Ryan for O’Connor (19), K Fahey for J Feehan (19), P Looram for Moloney (28), J Harney for O’Shaughnessy (30, temp), J Lonergan for Fox (47), L Boland for Colman Kennedy (53), B Maher for P Feehan (53), S Foley for Kennedy (59), R Quigley for Foley (70+3, temp).
Referee: J Bermingham (Cork)