Offaly miss out on promotion

November 8, 2018

Offaly lost out on promotion on score difference following a tow point dfeat by neighbours Westmeath in Mullingar on Sunday.   Offaly supporters were incensed that Niall McNamee wasn’t awarded an injury-time free after a collision with Kevin Maguire.

Referee Martin Sludden waved play on, enabling Westmeath to mount the attack that delivered Fergal Wilson’s concluding score.

Yet, Offaly had only themselves to blame, as manager Tom Cribbin would graciously conclude.

Two Bernard Allen goals kept them in a contest they only really came to grips with when substitute Niall Smith arrived to anchor an ailing midfield.

Westmeath led 0-12 to 1-6 at the mid-point, their two-man full-forward line of Dessie Dolan and Denis Glennon (until injured) causing havoc.

Allen had goaled on six minutes, finishing smartly after Graham Guilfoyle cut far too easily inside Doran Harte onto an incoming delivery. But thereafter an impressive Westmeath scoring burst just after the resumption, with Dolan and Paul Greville especially to the fore, eased them six points clear (0-16 to 1-7) and, seemingly, well-set for a comprehensive win.

But the introduction of Smith and an impressive Joe Quinn revitalised Offaly.

With 16 minutes remaining, Allen ghosted onto a breaking ball and rolled a calm finish past Gary Connaughton to send local heartbeats racing.

Two minutes from time, Ger Egan’s magnificent block denied Padraig Bracken, after the ever-dangerous McNamee drifted inside Kieran Gavin.

No matter, an overlapping Brian Darby then brought Offaly to within a point only for Kieran Martin to then produce a second miracle Westmeath block, this time from Reynolds.

The game was deep in injury-time when Sludden deemed McNamee’s collision with Maguire accidental and Westmeath torqued clear for Wilson to get the security score after Denis Corroon’s effort came back off an upright.

SCORERS — Westmeath: D Dolan 0-6, P Greville 0-5 (1f), D Corroon, P Sharry 0-2 each, C Lynam, David Glennon, Denis Glennon, F Wilson 0-1 each. Offaly: B Allen 2-0, C McManus 0-4 (3f), N McNamee 0-3, T Deehan 0-2 (1f), B Darby, J Reynolds 0-1 each.

WESTMEATH — G Connaughton; F Boyle, K Gavin, J Gaffey; G Egan, A Finnan, D Harte; B Murtagh, D Corroon, P Sharry, David Glennon, C Lynam; P Greville, D Dolan, Denis Glennon. Subs: J Dolan for Denis Glennon (27), K Maguire for Gaffey (33), K Martin for Boyle (52), S Quinn for David Glennon (56), F Wilson for Lynam (70 mins).

OFFALY — A Mulhall; B Darby, S Brady, S Pender; S Sullivan, K Slattery, J Keane; R Dalton, B Connor; G Guilfoyle, N McNamee, C McManus; B Allen, J Reynolds, T Deehan. Subs: P Bracken for Keane (h-t), J Quinn for Brady (44), N Smith for Connor (44), S Ryan for Deehan (63 mins).

Ref — M Sludden (Tyrone)