Minute’s silence held for Liam Kearns as Offaly’s late goals keep promotion hopes alive

Division Three round-up: Tipperary and Longford relegated; while Cavan go up despite defeat to Antrim

Tipperary 0-13 Offaly 2-14

A minute’s silence was observed in memory of Offaly manager Liam Kearns at Semple Stadium on Saturday following his unexpected death last week. The Kerry man had previously managed Tipperary, leading them to an All-Ireland semi-final.

Offaly hit two late goals through Ruairí McNamee and Anton Sullivan in the game to maintain their promotion challenge and condemn Tipperary to the drop to Division Four.

They led 0-9 to 0-7 at half-time after playing with the breeze, and with four minutes left were still ahead (0-14 to 0-13). Tipp, down to 14 men with the black-carding of Liam McGrath in the 66th minute, threw everything into attack in search of the win they need to avoid relegation.

Goalkeeper Michael O’Reilly was operating as an extra defender but in an Offaly break after 72 minutes, the goalie was off his line and McNamee netted to secure the win. Two minutes later, Sullivan added Offaly’s second goal to boost Offaly’s promotion challenge.


McNamee, Peter Cunningham and Declan Hogan were key men in what was Offaly’s fourth win in six outings, while for Tipp, who are relegated with a game still to play, Stephen Quirke, Kevin Fahey, and Emmet Moloney impressed.

TIPPERARY: M O Reilly (0-2. frees); S O Connell, J Feehan, C Deeley (0-1); E Moloney, K Fahey, C O’Shaughnessy; P Feehan, J Kennedy (0-3, two frees); S Quirke (0-3), K Ryan, T Doyle; M O’Shea (0-1), C Cadell (0-1), S O’Connor. Subs: D Leahy for Doyle (38 mins), M Russell (0-2, two frees) for Cadell (43), L McGrath for P Feehan (56), M Stokes for O’Shea (61).

OFFALY: I Duffy; L Pearson, D Hogan, D Dempsey; R Egan, P Cunningham, C Donohoe; J McEvoy, C McNamee; J Maher (0-1), R McNamee (1-3), N Dunne (0-4, one free); B Allen (0-1), A Sullivan (1-1), D Hyland (0-4, two frees). Subs: L Egan for Maher (48 mins), J Bryant for Dunne (56), C Farrell for Allen (66).

Referee: J Molloy (Galway).

Down 1-19 Longford 1-14

Longford succumbed to the Division Four trapdoor after a five-point loss to Down at home at an unusually quiet Páirc Elser on Saturday evening.

Results earlier in the day affecting both sides. Down were safe and Longford needed at least a point to help their survival chances with a week to go.

As it transpired, Down grabbed the win and the O’Byrne Cup champions wilted in the final Mourne flurry. Liam Kerr’s penalty in the 67th minute was coming as Paddy Christie’s side’s goal lived a charmed life.

Eight years in Division Three went with a whimper with Joe Hagan going off on a black card, then red for the cynical penalty foul.

Substitute Daire O’Brien’s led Longford’s late tame rally which saw him point and agonisingly see his goal-bound effort bravely taken off the line by Finn McElroy.

However, Pat Havern’s interjection of intensity midway through the second half complemented Kerr’s best efforts for a fourth Mourne victory of the season.

Dylan Farrell’s free-taking and an opportunistic Dessie Reynolds first-half goal failed to spark any sort of great escape for the Leinster men.

Down finished with five Kilcoo players on the field, Míceal Rooney’s relentlessness was exactly what Longford needed on the forgetful night.

DOWN: C Smyth; P Fegan, R McEvoy, F McElroy; R Johnston (0-2), P Laverty, C Fitzpatrick; P Havern (0-5, two frees), M Walsh; M Rooney (0-2), D McAleenan, L Kerr (1-5, 1-0 pen, three frees); J Johnston (0-1), M Ireland (0-1), C McCrickard (0-1). Subs: T Close for Walsh (13 mins), N Kane (0-1, a 45) for Smyth (h-t), R Mason for McCrickard, E Brown (0-1) for Ireland (both 40 mins), C Francis for J Johnston (54).

LONGFORD: P Collum; B O’Farrell, A Farrell, P Fox; I O’Sullivan, M Quinn (0-1), R Moffett; J Macken (0-1), D Gallagher (0-1); D Farrell (0-5, three frees), D Mimnagh (0-1), J Hagan; R Brady, D Reynolds (1-1), O Kenny (0-1). Subs: Aaron Farrell for R Brady (40 mins), P Foy for O’Farrell, K McGann (0-1) for Kenny (both 46), D O’Brien (0-1) for Reynolds (60), F Sheridan (0-1) for Macken (68).

Referee: S Laverty (Antrim).

Antrim 1-17 Cavan 2-12

Antrim fended off a late Cavan charge to grab a huge win at Corrigan Park to give their aspirations of avoiding relegation a huge boost, while the visitors are promoted despite the loss.

Two weeks on from a drubbing in Mullingar, the Saffrons were a different prospect and sounded early warning when Eoghan McCabe sent a direct ball into Aghagallon’s Ruairí McCann on five minutes and he thumped to the net.

They did get a little luck with Cavan’s Jack McKenna palming over when the goal was at his mercy and the crossbar later denied the Cavan man. But they led 1-7 to 0-4 at half-time with Paddy McBride and Odhrán Eastwood kicking two apiece.

The duo would pick up where they left off after the break to help push the gap out to 10. And although Cavan picked up the pace a little with substitutes Gearóid McKiernan and Conor Madden getting on the board, the gap remained nine on 60 minutes.

However, the visitors gathered a head of steam with three points in quick succession followed by a stunning goal by Conor Madden to narrow the gap to two.

A pair of Eastwood frees appeared to have settled it, but seconds after Cavan’s Conor Smith missed from yards out, Paddy Lynch lashed home to leave the minimum in it.

There would be no repeat of the Fermanagh loss for Antrim this time, however, as they got upfield and McBride kicked his fifth of the day to seal it.

ANTRIM: M Byrne; E McCabe, D Lynch, J McAuley; P McCormick (0-1), J Finnegan, M Jordan (0-1); C McLarnon; J Dowling; P Finnegan, R McCann (Creggan) (0-1 free), P McBride (0-5); D McEnhill (0-2), R McCann (Aghagallon) (1-0), O Eastwood (0-6, two frees). Subs: P Healy for P Finnegan (51 mins), S McGarry (0-1) for P McBride (54), C Stewart for J Dowling (64), B McCormick for J Finnegan (67), P McBride for D McEnhill (68)

CAVAN: R Galligan (0-2, two 45s); K Brady, P Faulkner, C Moynagh; C Brady, C Reilly, T Madden; J McKenna (0-1), K Clarke; G Smith, C Madden (0-3), J McCabe; B Boylan, P Lynch (1-1), R O’Neill. Subs: G McKiernan (0-2, two frees) for B Boylan, J Smith for K Brady (both h-t), D Brady for J McKenna, C Madden (1-2) for R O’Neill (both 45), C Smith (0-1) for G Smith (64).

Referee: K Eannetta (Tyrone).

Fermanagh 0-15 Westmeath 2-8

A superbly struck injury-time point from full back Lee Cullen helped Fermanagh take a big step towards promotion in a thrilling affair at Ederney.

It was a deserved victory for the home side, but once again, they gave their fans palpitations as they missed three great goal chances in the first half and conceded two goals in the space of a minute with 10 minutes to go.

Leading by 0-13 to 0-6, they seemed to be cruising but two well executed goals by Westmeath full back Kevin Maguire and corner forward David Lynch, who pounced on a ball that came off the post, made it Fermanagh 0-13 Westmeath 2-6.

The Midlanders had the momentum but, to their credit, the Ernesiders hit back with the score of the match – a huge soaring point from the outstanding Ultan Kelm.

There were five agonising minutes of injury-time as Westmeath’s Ronan Wallace replied to Cullen’s clincher.

The visitors had one last chance but it went wide and Fermanagh held on for their third one-point victory.

The home side had a whirlwind start and Darragh McGurn swept over a soaring point after just 10 seconds.

But, a physically powerful Westmeath hit back with a pointed free from marksman John Heslin.

Wallace put Westmeath in front before Ryan Lyons levelled from a pointed free in the fifth minute.

Despite playing into the breeze, Westmeath had most of the possession, but Fermanagh missed the first of three good goal chances in the 11th minute.

Speed machine Kelm tore through the Westmeath defence and he could have gone for his own goal but squared the ball to McGurn whose point-blank shot was somehow scrambled clear.

Three minutes later they opened the Westmeath defence again, but Josh Largo Ellis’s screaming shot cannoned off the crossbar and another let off for Westmeath.

But they had an even better chance of a goal after Cian McManus put them into a 0-5 to 0-3 lead.

Corner back Luke Flanagan hared through, and he found McGurn on the edge of the square but the full forward somehow failed to find the net with Westmeath defender James Dolan getting a final touch in the 20th minute.

Aidan Breen landed the resultant 45 as the Ernesiders finished the half strongly.

Kelm struck a fine long-range point with Ronan O’Toole replying for Westmeath.

McGurn finished the half when he converted a free as the home side led by 0-9 to 0-4 at the break.

Westmeath had the breeze in the second half, but it was the home side who asserted themselves and they increased the lead through early points from Lyons and McGurn.

Man of the match Kelm was also on target to put the home side into an apparently unassailable lead of 0-13 to 0-6.

But those two quick-fire Westmeath goals turned this match on their head.

Leaking goals has been a weakness of the Ernesiders but they have also shown character in buckets as well all season.

And, if other results do not go their way it could be a real dogfight to see who advances to Division Two in the final match against a Cavan side who surprisingly lost to Antrim.

FERMANAGH: Seán McNally; Lee Cullen (0-1), Che Cullen (0-2), Luke Flanagan; Jonathan Cassidy, Shane McGullion (0-1), Cian McManus (0-1); Ryan Jones, Brandon Horan; Josh Largo Ellis, Ryan Lyons (0-4, for frees) Ronan McCaffrey; Ultan Kelm (0-3), Darragh McGurn (0-2) Aidan Breen (0-1). Subs: Conor McGee for Aidan Breen (44 mins), Ciaran Corrigan for Darragh McGurn (66), Garvan Jones for Ryan Lyons (69), Seán Quigley for Ciarán Corrigan (73).

WESTMEATH: Jason Daly; Daniel Scahill, Kevin Maguire (1-0), Nigel Harte; James Dolan, Ronan Wallace (0-2), Sam McCartan; Sam Duncan, Ray Connellan; Senan Baker, Ronan O’Toole (0-2, one mark), Conor McCormack; Luke Loughlin (0-1), John Heslin (0-3, three frees), David Lynch (1-0). Subs: Kevin Martin for Sam Duncan (40 mins), Tom Molloy for Senan Baker (48), Lorcan Dolan for Luke Loughlin (57), Conor Dillon for Sam McCartan (65).

Referee: David Coldrick (Meath).