Offaly’s Jack Byrant celebrates scoring the first goal of the game. Ryan Byrne/INPHO
Brave and Faithful

Offaly land All-Ireland U20 title after thrilling win over Roscommon

Declan Kelly’s side survived a late Roscommon fightback to seal their first title at the U20/U21 grade since 1988.

Offaly 1-14

Roscommon 1-11


Offaly sealed the county’s first All-Ireland title since 1998 after surviving a nervy finale to beat Roscommon in the EirGrid U20 football decider.

Jack Byrant’s 50th minute goal left Offaly 1-13 to 0-9 in front, before Roscommon launched a spirited fightback in the closing stages. Adam McDermott hit the net to set-up a grandstand finish, but Offaly held their nerve. 

It sealed the Faithful’s first title at the U-20/U-21 grade in 33 years.

In his fourth season charge, Declan Kelly led Offaly to the promised land, franking all the recent talk of development in the county. Shane Lowry celebrated in the crowd as chants of ‘Uibh Fhaile’ rang around Croke Park amid joyous scenes at the full-time whistle. 

It was a deserved victory for Offaly, who had leaders all over the pitch. John Furlong, grandson of three-time All-Ireland winner Martin, was immense in defence and made several vital interceptions over the hour.

Morgan Tynan was solid at midfield, while attackers Cathal Flynn, Jack Bryant, Cormac Egan and Aaron Kelleghan all made decisive contributions. Cathal Donoghue had a wonderful second-half in particular, winning a pair of pivotal marks at midfield when the game was hanging in the balance in the final quarter.

Roscommon will leave Croke Park rueing several missed goal chances in the opening period. Adam McDermott and Daire Cregg carried the scoring burden, scoring 1-7 between them for the Connacht champions.

Ultimately, Offaly’s win was built on a five unanswered scores between the 36th and 45th minute that pushed them six clear. The decision to withdraw Kellaghan on 48 minutes was a curious one after he had kicked four points, but his replacement Keith O’Neill immediately set-up Bryant’s goal that put Offaly in the driving seat.

After a Leinster final win over Dublin and All-Ireland semi-final defeat of Cork, Offaly carried the favourites tag into this final but handled it well. 

They raced into a three point lead inside the opening eight minutes. Kelly’s side started the game on the front foot with Cormac Egan and Lee Pearson making incisive runs at the Rossie defence. 

Roscommon came into the game as the half went on. James Fitzpatrick forced Sean O’Toole into an excellent save, Daire Cregg eventually opened their account in the 10th minute.

cormac-egan-and-conor-lohan Offaly’s Cormac Egan takes on Conor Lohan of Roscommon. Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

Tom Hyland made a diving foot block to deny Darragh Heneghan a goal, but with Adam McDermott looking dangerous, Roscommon were level by the 15th minute.

Four points in quick succession between the 18th and 28th minute put the Faithful back in charge. Rhode clubman Kellaghan, son of former Offaly star Pascal, curled over two excellent scores during that spell, although his team were living dangerously at the far end.  

Pearson cleared off the line to deny Charlie Carthy a goal as scores from Cregg (free) and Ben O’Carroll brought Roscommon to within two by the interval.

Kelleghan hit his third immediately after the restart from an advanced mark, but a point off either foot from Cregg brought Roscommon to within a single point. Offaly reeled off five unanswered in a devastating nine-minute spell, including one apiece from the full-forward line trio of Egan, Byrant and Kelleghan.

Egan’s direct running caused constant problems for the Roscommon defence and he broke forward on the county only to see his strike on goal saved by Conor Carroll.

O’Neill was introduced in the 48th minute moments later he created the first goal of the game. The substitute skinned his man and fed Bryant at the back post, who cooly dispatched to send Offaly seven clear.

Roscommon fought back with 1-2 as McDermott’s green flag set-up a tense finish.

Oisin Keenan Martin made a crucial turnover in the defence and his team played keep ball before Tynan’s late free sealed a famous win for Offaly

Scorers for Offaly: Jack Bryant 1-2, Morgan Tynan 0-4 (0-3f), Aaron Kelleghan 0-4 (0-1f), Cathal Donoghue and Cormac Egan 0-2 each.

Scorers for Roscommon: Daire Cregg (0-5 (0-3f), Adam McDermott 1-2, Ben O’Carroll 0-2 (0-1f), Charlie Carthy and Jason Doory 0-1 each.


1. Sean O’Toole (Shamrocks)

2. Fionn Dempsey (Bracknagh) 3. Tom Hyland (Bracknagh) 4. Lee Pearson (Edenderry)

11. Oisin Keenan Martin (Tullamore)

5. Rory Egan (Edenderry) 6. John Furlong (Tullamore) 7. Aaron Brazil (Shannonbridge)

8. Ed Cullen (Clara) 9. Morgan Tynan (Ballinagar)

13. Cormac Egan (Tullamore) 10 Cathal Flynn (Ferbane) 12. Cathal Donoghue (Kilcormac- Killoughey)

14. Jack Bryant (Shamrocks) 15. Aaron Kellaghan (Rhode)


23. Keith O’Neill (Clonbullogue) for Kellaghan (48)

17. Kieran Dolan (Shamrocks) for Brazil (58)


1 Conor Carroll (Oranmore/Maree)

2 Conor Lohan (Pádraig Pearses), 3 Colin Walsh (Oran), 4 Dylan Gaughan (Tulsk)

5 Patrick Gavin (Clann na nGael), 9 Ruaidhrí Fallon (St. Brigid’s), 7 Jack Lohan (St Dominic’s)

6 Tomás Crean (Creggs), 8 Keith Doyle (St. Dominic’s)

10 Robbie Dolan (St. Brigid’s), 12 Daire Cregg (Boyle), 11 James Fitzpatrick (Oran)

15 Darragh Heneghan (Michael Glaveys), 14 Ben O’Carroll (St. Brigid’s), 13 Adam McDermott (Castlerea St. Kevin’s)


22. Charlie Carthy (Oran) for Fitzpatrick (40)

17. Sean Trundle (St Brigid’s) for Crean (40)

19. David Wynne (Ballinameen) for Lohan (45)

18. Jason Doory (Eire Og) for Dolan (48)

20. Joseph O’Malley (Roscommon Gaels) for Gaughan (51)

21. Enda Crawley (Eire Og) for Heneghan (53)

Referee: Sean Hurson (Tyrone)

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