Division Three: 14 man Offaly edge by Sligo

Kildare stay top with win in Offaly; Tipperary remain unbeaten after Westmeath draw; Clare beat Limerick

Offaly 1-13 Sligo 0-14

Offaly recorded a hugely important win when they just edged out Sligo in an enthralling tussle in Tullamore on Sunday.

While they were the better side over the course of the 70 minutes, Offaly had to work really hard to get the result and they showed great character in the face of adversity late on.

Reduced to 14 men when star forward, Niall McNamee received a second yellow card 11 minutes from time, Offaly were under severe pressure. At that stage, the sides were level at 1-10 to 0-13 but the home side got three of the last four points to win by two.

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Impressive substitute Anton Sullivan edged them ahead with four minutes left and a Bernard Allen free gave them breathing space deep into injury time.

Offaly came flying out of the blocks, firing over four points without reply in the opening three minutes but they struggled to build on that as Sligo settled. The visitors had it back to level terms, 0-6 each, by the 24th minute and edged ahead with a Mark Breheny free.

A brilliant goal from Nigel Bracken after a great build up in the 30th minute helped Offaly to a 1-6 to 0-8 interval lead. It remained delicately balanced throughout the second half with Sligo having a couple of good goal chances that could have won it for them.

OFFALY: A Mulhall; D Brady, E Rigney, S Pender; B Darby, C Donoghue, J O'Connor (0-1); N Smith, G Guilfoyle; E Carroll, M Brazil (0-1), N Bracken (1-0); N Dunne (0-5, 4f), P Cunningham (0-1), N McNamee (0-3).

Subs - J Moloney for Donoghue (h/t), A Sullivan (0-1) for Cunningham (45m), B Allen (0-1, f) for Bracken (52m), C McNamee for Carroll (58m), S Doyle for Dunne (67m).

SLIGO: A Devaney; E Flanagan, K McDonnell, Brendan Egan; A McIntyre, Keelan Cawley, G O'Kelly-Lynch; E McHugh, C Breheny; N Ewing, M Breheny (0-4, 3f), N Gaughan; Kyle Cawley, N Murphy (0-7, 4f), Brian Egan. Subs - D Maye for McDonnell (32m), P Hughes (0-2) for Brian Egan (h/t), C Davey (0-1) for Gaughan (Black card, 44m), C Harrison for McIntyre (54m), M Gordon for O'Kelly-Lynch (63m), K McDonnell for C Breheny (65m).

Referee - E O’Grady (Leitrim).

Westmeath 0-11 Tipperary 1-8

Tipperary maintained their unbeaten start to this year’s National Football League in Mullingar on Sunday, while their hosts Westmeath picked up their first point of the campaign.

Despite being played in ideal conditions for football, the first half was a very scrappy affair with both sides guilty of poor shooting - often into the grateful hands of the opposition’s goalkeeper - and an array of loose passing.

One such ambitious crossfield pass from Westmeath's Ray Connellan on the quarter-hour mark was intercepted by Josh Keane. He fed Peter Acheson who teed up Robbie Kiely for the only goal of the contest. The sides were tied at the interval, 0-5 to 1-2.

The home team started the second half brightly with lively corner forward John Connellan pointing twice and his colleague John Egan adding another by the 40th minute. Tipperary quickly equalised, two of their points coming from midfielder Alan Maloney.

Neither side was able to pull away, but Westmeath looked the likely winners when leading by two points with just three minutes of normal time remaining. However, converted frees from Michael Quinlivan and Maloney levelled the contest. Six minutes’ added-time was played with Paul Sharry narrowly missing a last-gasp ‘45’ to win the match for Westmeath.

Westmeath: D Quinn; K Daly, F Boyle, K Maguire; P Holloway, K Martin (0-3), J Dolan; D Corroon, R Connellan; C McCormack, J Heslin (0-3, three frees), J Egan (0-1); J Connellan (0-3), P Sharry, S Dempsey (0-1). Subs: D Daly for Egan (51 mins), A Stone for McCormack (64 mins), P Greville for Dempsey (66 mins), R Foley for Martin (69 mins).

Tipperary: E Comerford; C McDonald, A Campbell, C O'Shaughnessy; J Feehan, R Kiely (1-0), S Leahy (0-1); A Maloney (0-3, one free), M Dunne; B Fox (0-1), P Acheson, J Keane; C Sweeney (0-2, two frees), M Quinlivan (0-1, free), N O'Donovan. Subs: J Lonergan for Keane (34 mins), I Fahey for O'Donovan (34 mins), J O'Callaghan for O'Shaughnessy (44 mins), L Casey for Fahey (53 mins), B Hewitt for Sweeney (61 mins), D Butler for Dunne (64 mins).

Ref: F Barry (Kildare).

Limerick 0-11 Clare 1-14

Clare were full value for their six points win at Newcastle West against a Limerick side who never looked like repeating their double score win over the Banner side at the same venue when they met last year.

The win lifts Clare into second place and leave Limerick with a mountain to climb if they are to avoid relegation.

That was chiefly because of the Clare dominance and they set the tone with points by David Tubridy, free and play, and another by Shane McGrath inside six minutes.

In a disappointing contest Limerick managed only one point from play, by Seanis Buckley, in the first half as Clare built up a 0-9 to 0-3 lead with David Tubridy getting six of their scores, three from frees.

Limerick’s cause was not helped when Tom Lee was shown a black card after 39 minutes and was replaced by Pa Ranahan.

In the final quarter Limerick managed four points in a row to bring the score to 0-14 to 0-8 but a fisted goal by Gary Brennan from a long ball by McGrath ensured there would be no late drama.

Limerick: B Scanlon (0-1 '45'); J McCarthy, P Browne, S O'Dea; M O'Donovan, I Corbett, B Fanning; T Lee, S Buckley 0-1; C Sheehan, D Tracey, D Neville 0-1; I Ryan 0-5 (5f), B O'Donovan, P Nash. Subs, S Cahill 0-1 for Fanning (26), S McSweeney 0-2 for B O'Donovan (34), G Hegarty for Shehan (h-t), P Ranahan for Lee (BC 39), P White for Nash (54)

Clare: J Hayes; C O'Dea, K Hartnett, M McNamara; J Malone, G Kelly, P Lillis; G Brennan 1-0, P Burke; S Collins 0-2, E Coughlan, S McGrath 0-4; S Malone, E Cleary 0-2, D Tubridy 0-6 (3f). Subs K Sexton and D Ryan for Burke and S Malone, both 46, S O'Donoughue for Tubridy 61 S Haugh for Coughlan 53, G kelly for Collins 69.

Referee, J Hickey, Carlow.