Antrim 0-12 Offaly 2-12
Goals win games and Offaly’s ability take their chances as Antrim saw four opportunities come and go proved the winning and losing of Sunday’s Allianz Football League Division Three opener at Corrigan Park.
Ruairi McNamee poked home after 25 minutes following Peter Cunningham’s storming run forward and then, in stoppage time, Bernard Allen deftly finished to shut the door on the Saffrons’ second-half fightback.
Aided by the wind, the visitors opened brightly with Joe Maher and Dylan Hyland pointing early, but Antrim enjoyed a decent spell of possession, yet converted just two chances with the wide count mounting.
Offaly clicked from the 17th minute as they rattled off 1-5 on the spin including McNamee’s goal to open a nine-point gap that became seven at the break with late Antrim frees converted by Dominic McEnhill and Ryan Murray, the score 1-8 to 0-4.
The sides traded two points early in the second period before the hosts mounted a charge, narrowing the gap to four with the game entering stoppage time, yet Creggan’s Ruairi McCann had been denied by the feet of Ian Duffy and then dumped high and wide despite protests of a point, while Duffy also kept Odhran Eastwood out.
A massive chance for Patrick Finnegan saw his palmed effort cleared off the line by Rory Egan. A Patrick McBride point left leave a goal in it, but that major would come at the other end with a probing ball seeing Allen win the race to lob Mick Byrne and seal victory for the Faithful.
ANTRIM: M Byrne; P Healy, D Lynch, J McAuley (0-1); D McAleese, J Finnegan, M Jordan; J Dowling, C Stewart (0-1); P McBride (0-1), R Murray (0-3, three frees), C Duffin; P Shivers (0-1), R McCann (Creggan, 0-1), D McEnhill (0-2, one free)
Subs: R McCann (Aghagallon, 0-2) for D McEnhill (HT), K Small for J Dowling (HT), P Finnegan for C Duffin (49 mins), O Eastwood for R McCann (Creggan, 58), P Mervyn for J Finnegan (65).
OFFALY: I Duffy; C Donohoe, D Hogan, D Dempsey; R Egan, P Cunningham (0-1), L Pearson; J McEvoy, C McNamee; J Maher (0-1), R McNamee (1-1), S O’Toole-Greene; N Dunne (0-2, two frees), A Sullivan (0-3), D Hyland (0-4, two frees)
Subs: B Allen (1-0) for S O’Toole-Greene (HT), C Farrell for N Dunne (48 mins), L Egan for J Maher (63), J Bryant for D Hyland (70+2), A Brazil for C Donohoe (70+3)
REFEREE: Conor Dourneen (Cavan)