Darren Gallagher, who scored half of Longford's ten points, pictured with young supporter Malachy McGovern after Longford beat Offaly by 1-12 to 0-11 in the O'Byrne Cup Final Picture: Declan Gilmore
It was honours even in Bord na Móna O’Connor Park, Tullamore this afternoon as Offaly and Longford played out an exciting draw in this Allianz National Football League Division 3 round two contest.
Allianz National Football League Division 3 Round 2: Offaly 0-10 Longford 0-10
On the balance of play, a draw was a fair result with both teams having chances to win the game. It is the second year in succession the counties have drawn in the NFL, with last year’s tie at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park ending at 1-6 to 0-9.
Our coverage of Longford's Allianz National Football League campaign is brought to you in association with Supermac's Longford
Offaly had a chance to grab a goal in the 61st minute but substitute Conor McNamee hit the butt of the post while Oran Kenny squandered a chance for Longford minutes later.
Both sides had a player black carded near the end; Rian Brady (Longford) and Colm Doyle (Offaly).
Offaly pushed for a winning point right at the end but Longford defended well to hold on for the point and leaving them unbeaten after two games. They entertain Leitrim (defeated 0-9 to 1-15 by Cork) at home in round three next Sunday.
In a tight first half the sides were level on five occasions. With the aid of a strong wind Offaly opened the scoring in the second minute when Bernard Allen got on the end of Cathal Mangan’s pass to shoot over. He could and should have found the twice,.
Once again Darren Gallagher was exceptional at midfield for Longord and he registered their first point in the eighth minute. Allen (free) and Oran Kenny traded points before a good Ruairi McNamee put Offaly back in front, 0-3 to 0-2 after 18 minutes.
Gallagher levelled matters for the third occasion before Longford took the lead for the first time in the 20th minute when Rian Brady kicked an excellent point.
They could have gone two ahead minutes later but after a good phase of play they were off target and from the kick-out Anton O’Sullivan levelled for Offaly, 0-4 apiece after 26 minutes.
Fine points from Dessie Reynolds and Darren Gallagher either side of an Anton Sullivan score edged Longford in front by one, 0-5 to 0-6, in the 30th minute.
One minute later they were dealt a blow when captain Donie McElligott received a black card but they held on to go in at the break leading by 0-6 to 0-5.
A good point from Gallagher in the 40th minute put Longford ahead by two but Anton Sullivan replied for Offaly.
The score of the game came in the 45th minute when Gallagher won Paddy Collum’s kick-out, soloed through before slotting the ball over the bar to put two between the sides again, 0-6 to 0-8.
Offaly kept with Longford and two Allen frees drew them level in the 50th minute 0-8 apiece - the sixth occasion the sides were deadlocked.
Conor McNamee had a chance to put John Maughan’s side ahead one minute later but drove his low shot wide. They then kicked three wides in a row during a dominant spell.
Longford restored their two-point advantage thanks to the accuracy of Oran Kenny and Dessie Reynolds, 0-8 to 0-10 with 61 minutes elapsed.
Supporters certainly got value for money in the final 10 minutes as Offaly’s substitute Conor McNamee had a chance to grab a goal but his effort came off the butt of the post.
Ruairi McNamee’s successful free kept Offaly in the hunt while down the other end Oran Kenny was unlucky to see his effort go wide when the goal was on.
In the 67th minute Offaly won the ball in defence and broke up the field with wing-back Niall Darby levelling the game.
Both sides had chances to win the game but none were converted as they had to settle for a share of the spoils.
OFFALY: Paddy Dunican; David Dempsey, Eoin Rigney, Colm Doyle; Eoin Carroll, Declan Hogan, Niall Darby (0-1); Cathal Mangan, Michael Brazil; Shane Horan, Ruairi McNamee (0-2, 0-1 free), Jordan Hayes; Bernard Allen (0-4, 0-3 frees), Anton Sullivan (0-3), Cian Johnson.
Subs: Conor McNamee for C Johnson (33 mins), Cian Donohue for J Hayes (53 mins), Ciaran Donnell for A Sullivan inj (70+6 mins)
LONGFORD: Paddy Collum; Patrick Fox, Andrew Farrell, Barry O’Farrell; Iarla O’Sullivan, Gary Rogers, Colm P Smyth; Darren Gallagher (0-5, 0-1 free), Kevin Diffley; Michael Quinn, Donie McElligott, Dessie Reynolds (0-2); Daniel Mimnagh, Rian Brady (0-1), Oran Kenny (0-2).
Subs: Joseph Hagan for D McElligott (63 mins), Darragh Doherty for O Kenny (66 mins), Liam Connerton for I O’Sullivan (70+5 mins)
REFEREE: Liam Devenney (Mayo)
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