Goalkeeper Alan Mulhall stands out for Offaly against Laois
Two crucial saves lay platform for damage to be done at the other end in nine-point win
Offaly 2-12 Laois 0-9
A very solid performance saw Offaly win a battle of two experimental teams as they easily got the better of Laois in O’Connor Park on Sunday.
It was far easier than expected for Offaly, who worked harder than a disappointing Laois outfit and were not flattered by the winning margin.
A couple of outstanding saves from goalkeeper Alan Mulhall at a crucial stages of the second half may have kept the home side in the driving seat but there was no disputing the merit of their win and they did produce some very decent football in the closing 35 minutes.
Alan Mulhall saved brilliantly from Matt Campion and Evan O’Carroll, 12 and 17 minutes into the second half, and these allowed Offaly to pull away.
Laois had been struggling to find any decent momentum in the second half but those two stops seemed to knock the resistance out of them.
Offaly were 1-8 to 0-6 in front when O’Carroll’s shot was deflected out for a 45 and within a few minutes, they had the game in the bag.
The game was 64 minutes old before Mark O’Halloran got Laois’s first point of the half and they never looked like salvaging the game.
It is very early in the season but new Offaly manager Pat Flanagan will have been pleased with the work rate and application of his side.
In a very tame first half, Offaly were steady and battled for everything. The decisive score was a goal from debutant Nigel Bracken 11 minutes from half time.
That gave Offaly a 1-4 to 0-3 lead and they went on to lead by 1-4 to 0-6 at half time.
OFFALY: A Mulhall; D Brady, P McConway, J O’Connor; C Kiely, J Moloney (0-1), D Hogan; G Guilfoyle (0-1), R Allen (0-1); K Mullally, M Young, N Bracken (1-0); B Allen (1-3, 2f), N Dunne (0-1), W Mulhall (0-3, 3f). Subs - P Sullivan for Young (32m), D Kelly (0-1, f) for Guilfoyle (50m), J Evans (0-1) for Mullally (55m), B Crombie for Kiely (62m), M Dempsey for Allen (65m), J Geraghty for Hogan (67m).
LAOIS: E Culliton; A Campion, P McMahon, G Hanrahan; D Strong, P Begley, J O’Loughlin (0-2); K Meaney, J Finn; R Munnelly (0-1), E O’Carroll, B Ging (0-1); G Dillon (0-1, f), P McEvoy, C Kelly (0-2, 2f). Subs - M Campion for O’Loughlin (Black card, 33m), N Murphy (0-1) for Munnelly (55m), C Booth for Meaney (58m), G McEvoy for Strong (60m), M O’Halloran (0-1) for O’Carroll (62m), NMullen for Kelly (68m).
Referee: F Barry (Kildare).