Offaly Win Opening N.F.L. game

November 8, 2018

NFL Division 3: Offaly 1-13, Fermanagh 1-10

Ciaran McManus marked the start of his 15th National Football League campaign for Offaly with a crucial goal as Offaly defeated Fermanagh by 1-13 to 1-10 at O’Connor Park, Tullamore.

Fermanagh were reduced to 14 men late in the first half, but nonetheless Offaly deserved their win.

There was plenty of entertaining football in the first half. Against the wind, Offaly started promisingly with early points from Richie Dalton, John Reynolds and Karol Slatteryy.

Fermanagh opened their account through Matthew Keenan in the 11th minute, but David Egan slotted over a fourth for Offaly.

However, Fermanagh broke through for a 15th minute goal from Daryl Keenan after Alan Mulhall had saved brilliantly from Ciaran Flaherty. And they went ahead for the first time – 1-2 to 0-4 – thanks to Rory Gallagher.

It was tit for tat for the next ten minutes, with Ken Casey (free), John Reynolds and Ross Brady (free) on target for Offaly, while Fermanagh also hit over three points.

Fermanagh were reduced to 14 men in the 33rd minute when corner back Martin O’Brien was sent off for what must have been an off-the-ball incident.

Offaly capitalised and finished the half on a high with points from Ken Casey and John Reynolds to go in ahead (0-9 to 1-5).

Fermanagh started well in the second half and regained the lead with two points. Niall McNamee equalised and then, in the 45th minute, Ciaran McManus netted Offaly’s first goal of the league campaign, leaving the score 1-10 to 1-7.

Like the first half, there was a 15 minute spell of tit-for-tat action. Each team increased their tally by two points with Brian Connor and Ken Casey (free) adding excellent points for Offaly.

In the 27th minute, John Reynolds hit his fourth point to give Offaly a four point cushion – 1-13 to 1-9. However, they could not relax. Fermanagh missed some good chances from frees during the second half, but Tommy McElroy got their tenth point of the match.

Offaly Scorers: John Reynolds and Ken Casey (2 frees) 0-4 each; Ciaran McManus 1-0; Ross Brady (free), David Egan, Niall McNamee, Brian Connor, Richie Dalton and Karol Slattery 0-1 each.

Offaly: Alan Mulhall; Mark Conlon, Ciaran Kiely, Sean Pender; Conor Carroll, Shane Sullivan, Karol Slattery; Richie Dalton, Brian Connor; David Egan, John Reynolds, Ciaran McManus; Ross Brady, Ken Casey, Niall McNamee.

Sub: Sean Ryan for Brady; Anton Sullivan for McNamee; Paraic Sullivan for Egan; Scott Brady for McManus; Paul McConway for Carroll.