Longford pay price for second half fade out

Cian Farrelly coming away with the ball followed by Offaly's Joe Mahe. Photo: Declan Gilmore
Longford fell to their second defeat in the Hastings Cup as Offaly turned a five point half-time deficit into a one point win, getting the decisive score in the final minute of the game.

Longford fell to their second defeat in the Hastings Cup as Offaly turned a five point half-time deficit into a one point win, getting the decisive score in the final minute of the game.

Following their previous defeat to Mayo this result means that the holders Longford are now out of the competition with their game against Cavan on Saturday a mere formality.

It had looked good for Longford at the break; leading by five points but Offaly made a terrific start to the second half and 1-3 without reply in a 3 minute spell helped them turn this game around. Once they got in front in the game, they started to get on top. Towards the end Longford missed chances to edge in front with Offaly substitute Gareth Mann firing over the winning score in the 59th minute.

Just 40 seconds had elapsed when Longford raised the green flag for the first time; Robbie Smyth and James McGivney were involved in the move that Ross McNerney finished to the net. Smyth followed up minutes later with a pointed free.

Joe Maher opened Offaly’s account in the 5th minute and one minute later pointed a free. In less than a minute Longford tagged on two more points through McNerney and Barry McKeon. In the 16th minute McNerney grabbed his and his side’s second goal.

Longford were in control at this stage leading by seven points. Maher kept Offaly in the game with two more points (one free). A free from McGivney put six between the sides coming up to half-time but Conor McNamee fired over a point for his side to cut the gap to five.

Offaly were a completely different proposition after the break and in a three minute spell turned the game in their advantage. Right from the throw-in they pulled a goal back when Aaron McDonagh fisted to the net.

Jason Gettings followed with a point before Maher drew his side level. In the 33rd minute a terrific point from corner-back Sean Moriarty put Offaly in front for the first time.

In the 36th minute McGivney’s effort was blocked down for a ’45 which Rory Connor duly slotted over to level the game for the second time but 6 minutes later Gettings edged Offaly ahead again with a neat score.

McGivney levelled for Longford in the 44th minute before Brian Walsh was black carded for remonstrating with the referee. Another McGivney free put Longford in front in the 47th minute but they then failed to add on further scores. A free from Maher levelled matters again in the 48th minute.

Longford had chances near the end but substitute Cillian Lynn’s effort was gathered by the Offaly keeper and then McGivney hit his free wide. Offaly created opportunities themselves and in the final minute of the game substitute Mann hit over a fine point to claim a dramatic win for his side.

Offaly: Conor Clancy; Sean Moriarty (0-1), Joey O’Connor, Philip Foy; Keith Mullally, Eoin Carroll, Conor McNamee (0-1); Declan Byrne, Jason Gettings (0-2); Nigel Bracken, Luke Kelly, Thomas Mooney; Joe Maher (0-6,3f), Adam Shelley, Aaron McDonagh (1-0)

Subs: Gareth Mann (0-1) for Bracken and Darragh Corbett for Mooney (half-time).

Longford: Shane Fitzpatrick; Brian Collum, Andrew Farrell, Cian Farrelly; Shane Clarke, Stephen McLoughlin, Conor Shiels; Andrew Dalton, Barry McKeon (0-1); Rory Connor (0-1,’45), Ross McNerney (2-1), Emmet Noonan; Liam Connerton, Robbie Smyth (0-1,1f), James McGivney (0-3,3f).

Subs: Brian Walsh for Noonan (half-time), Cillian Lynn for Walsh (black card 46), Paddy Kiernan for McNerney (53mins).

Referee: Sean Carroll (Westmeath).