Derry kickstart their season to leave Offaly rock bottom

Offaly goalkeeper Barry Rohan kept his side in the game with first-half-saves

Derry 1-15 Offaly 0-13

Derry defied the cold winter skies at Celtic Park as their bright new dawn finally began to shine with a five-point win over an Offaly side that now finding themselves mired in the Division Three relegation zone after falling to their third consecutive defeat.

But for the heroics of Offaly goalkeeper Barry Rohan, who twice denied Derry's Niall Toner with goal-saving stops, Derry would have found themselves further ahead than the 1-6 to 0-5 that they led by at half-time.

Derry's goal when it did arrive came courtesy of rampaging midfielder Emmett Bradley, who side-footed home after another Toner shot was parried in the 13th minute. That goal handed the blitzkrieging Oakleafers a handsome 1-5 to no score advantage and an Enda Lynn point straight after edged that lead further still.


Having struggled for any rhythm or form, the Faithful County finally came to the party when Bobby O’Dea opened their account in the 18th minute. O’Dea’s point settled a side clearly low on confidence, but they did finish the half powerfully with five back to back scores to reduce their deficit to four at the break.

Early second-half points from danger men Bernard Allen and Nigel Dunne reduced the Derry lead to just two (1-7 to 0-7) as Offaly continued to take the game to their hosts.

Stung into action, Damian McErlain’s men finally stopped the Offaly revival when Enda Lynn’s point brought an end to seven consecutive points from the visitors.

After that Derry had just enough to keep their feisty opponents at arm’s length and when they nailed three of the last four points of the game the first victory of the season was theirs. The win lifts the home side out of the drop zone, the defeat leaves Offaly very much in it.

DERRY: O Hartin; M McEvoy, K Johnston, R Mooney; M Bateson (0-1), C McWilliams, C Doherty; C McAtamney, E Bradley (1-5, three frees); P McGrogan, E Lynn (0-3), B Heron; P Hagan, T O'Brien (0-1), N Toner (0-2, one free).

Subs: D Tallon (0-1) for M Bateson (h/t); M Lynch (0-1) for P Hagan, J Kielt (0-1) for B Heron (both 42mins); A Bradley for M McEvoy (70).

OFFALY: B Rohan; D Hogan (0-2), P McConway, D Brady; D Dempsey, S Pender, N Darby; P Cunningham, C McNamee; B O'Dea (0-1), M Brazil, S Nally; B Allen (0-2, one free), A Sullivan, N Dunne (0-7, five frees).

Subs: J Hayes for S McNally (b/c, 19 mins); J Lalor for D Brady (29); C Carroll for B O'Dea, S Tierney (0-1) for C Dunne (both h/t); S Doyle for J Hayes (67).

Referee: John Gilmartin (Sligo).