Division Three: Louth take their chance to open gap on Tipperary
Meanwhile, Armagh beat Longford in a thriller and Antrim edged Sligo
Louth manager Colin Kelly continued their fine form in 2017 with a win over Offaly on Sunday. Photograph: Inpho
Louth 2-13 Offaly 0-14
Louth continued their great start to the league with a very important win in Tullamore on Saturday.
It was Offaly’s first home defeat under Pat Flanagan and it was a massive result for Louth who are now firmly on course for promotion.
Louth laid a powerful foundation in the first half when playing against the wind. Two goals from Ryan Burns gave Louth a 2-5 to 0-7 half time lead and this gave them the cushion to get the job done.
Offaly battled hard in the second half and they were in the hunt throughout. However, the goal they so desperately needed eluded them and Louth always looked like winning. The winners kicked some great points from distance and a disappointed Offaly now travel to Armagh for a crunch game where relegation will be very much on their minds.
Longford 3-9 Armagh 3-11
Armagh just about hung on as they recorded their first win of the Division Three campaign on Sunday against Armagh.
It was tough on Longford who made a real game of it after being nine points down and bringing it back to a one-point game in this exciting six-goal encounter.
Longford had two early chances to register a score but kicked them wide. Rory Grugan got the first score of the game in the third minute before Anthony Murnin and Stefan Campbell added points to give Armagh a three point lead.
Jamie Clarke then bagged the their first goal of the game in the 11th minute.
A Grugan point extended the lead to seven and it wasn’t until the 17th minute when Longford got their opening score through Robbie Smyth, who then followed that up with an excellent point from a sideline ball.
Armagh replied with a Murnin point before a mistake from Longford’s James McGivney allowed Oisin O’Neill to backheel the ball to the net.
Two more points gave the Orchard County an 11 point lead but Longford rallied before the break with a goal from Liam Connerton and points from Dermot Brady and Smyth (free). At half-time Longford trailed 2-7 to 1-4.
Longford’s comeback was stifled 30 seconds into the second half when Armagh got their third goal. Michael Quinn and Smyth (free) got points for Longford before they squandered two goal chances of their own.
On the hour mark though McGivney got Longford’s second goal, and it was all to play for when substitute Larry Moran got Longford’s third to cut the gap to two.
Barry McKeon made sure it was a nervy ending when he left just one between the sides. But Armagh got a fortuitous free in stoppage time which Stefan Campbell pointed to leave two between them in the end.
Longford finished the game with 14 men after Dermot Brady received a second yellow while Donie McElligott, Robbie Smyth and goalscorer Larry Moran were all black carded.
Antrim 0-11 Sligo 1-7
Sligo surrendered their unbeaten league record when going down by one point to a dogged Antrim side in Belfast.
Antrim came from four points down to seal victory with a superb long range free from man of the match CJ McGourty.
When Niall Murphy fired home the game’s first goal on 25 minutes, Sligo led by 1-3 to 0-3.
Within 15 minutes of the restart though, the sides were level when Paddy McBride set up McGourty who stroked over the bar.
With five minutes to go, the sides were still deadlocked, 1-10 to 0-7, and when McGourty was presented with a testing effort from 45 metres out, the St Galls clubman made light of the conditions to send the ball over the bar and secure victory.