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Offaly finally break Leinster hoodoo with first provincial win in nine years

Pat Flanagan’s troops will take on Westmeath in the Leinster quarter-final.

Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Offaly 2-21

Longford 2-13

Darragh Small reports from O’Connor Park, Tullamore

ALAN MULHALL TURNED from villain to hero for Offaly, as he recovered from a first-half error to save a second-half penalty, and they made it third time lucky and knocked Longford out of the Leinster SFC with an eight-point first round victory in Tullamore.

Pat Flanagan’s side will go on to face Westmeath in the quarter-final after their first win in Leinster since 2007 – they had reached the 2006 decider where they lost to Dublin.

And they cannot meet the reigning league and All-Ireland champions until the Leinster final now, as they continue to continue to build following a league campaign where they won four of their seven outings in Division 3.

One of those victories was a two-point success over Longford, and they led 1-12 to 1-6 at half-time here.

Offaly took a 0-3 to 0-1 lead before Longford struck for their goal in the sixth minute, and it was horrendous moment for Mulhall. He misjudged the bounce of the ball from Barry McKeon’s shot, and it looped over his head and into the net.

Longford took a 1-6 to 1-4 lead – Graham Guilfoyle hit the Offaly goal in the tenth minute. And then Offaly opened up and kicked eight points in a row before half-time.

Niall Smith hit a 56th minute goal as Offaly took command in the second-half, and when Brian Kavanagh’s penalty was saved by Mulhall there was no way back for Longford. Even though Robbie Smyth scored their consolation goal on the hour.

Scorers for Offaly: N Smith 1-1, B Allen 0-4 (0-2f), N McNamee 0-4, G Guilfoyle 1-0, N Dunne 0-4 (0-1 ’45, 0-1f), A Sullivan 0-2, P Cunningham 0-2, E Carroll 0-1, M Brazil 0-1, J Moloney 0-1, J O’Connor 0-1.

Scorers for Longford: R Smyth 1-5 (0-2f), J McGivney 0-4, B McKeon 1-1, D Gallagher 0-1, C P Smyth 0-1, M Quinn 0-1 (0-1 ’45).

Offaly

1. Alan Mulhall (Walsh Island)

4. Sean Pender (Edenderry)
2. Brian Darby (Rhode)
5. Niall Darby (Rhode)

3. Eoin Rigney (Rhode)
6. Peter Cunningham (Bracknagh)
7. Joey O’Connor (St Rynagh’s)

8. Eoin Carroll (Cappincur)
9. Niall Smith (Garcefield)

15. Johnny Moloney (Tullamore)
14. Niall McNamee (Rhode)
12. Michael Brazil (Tullamore)

13. Bernard Allen (Tubber)
11. Nigel Dunne (Shamrocks)
10. Graham Guilfoyle (Clara)

Subs:

23. Anton Sullivan (Rhode) for Brazil (53)
25. Sean Doyle (Edenderry) for Allen (67)
24. Nigel Bracken (Tullamore) for Dunne (68)
18. Cian Donohue (St Brigid’s) for B Darby (71)
20. Jason Gethings (Cappincur) for Guilfoyle (74)

Longford

1. Paddy Collum (Fr Manning Gaels)

2. Andrew Farrell (Cashel)
3. Barry Gilleran (Longford Slashers)
6. Dermot Brady (Longford Slashers)

9. Darren Gallagher (St Mary’s)
5. Donal McElligott (St Columbas)
4. Barry O’Farrell (Carrickedmond)

7. Diarmuid Masterson (Dromond)
8. Michael Quinn (Emmet Og)

15. Paul McKeon (Colmcille)
11. James McGivney (St Columbas)
10. Dessie Reynolds (Sean Connolly’s)

12. Robbie Smyth (Abbeylara)
14. Brian Kavanagh (Kilmacud Crokes)
13. Barry McKeon (Colmcille)

Subs:

17. Paul McGee (Dromard) for Farrell (half-time)
18. Michael Brady (Longford Slashers) for P McKeon (half-time)
21. Colm P Smyth (Abbeylara) for Reynolds (half-time)
23. Rory Connor (Kenagh) for Gallagher (53)
24. Mark Hughes (Emmet Og) for Kavanagh (59)
20. Brian Farrell (Mostrim) for O’Farrell (62)

Referee: Anthony Nolan (Wicklow)

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About the author:

Daragh Small

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