Injury-time point from Abbott secures Offaly’s survival
Leinster men finish strongly after Sligo captain Niall Murphy is sent off for second bookable offence
Offaly’s Niall McNamee: he showed calmness and composure to hit the net. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho
Offaly 1-11 Sligo 1-10
A dramatic fisted point from substitute Mark Abbott in injury-time secured Offaly’s survival in Division 3 and inflicted an eighth straight defeat on relegated Sligo.
The Yeats men have yet to win a game in 2019, but looked in a good position at Connolly Park when dual player Gerard O’Kelly-Lynch finished to the net in the third quarter.
At that stage Sligo went into a one-point lead, and had wind advantage. However, captain Niall Murphy was sent off for a second bookable offence shortly after, and Offaly finished strongly to take the points.
Murphy and O’Kelly-Lynch got the home side off to a bright start, but Niall McNamee and Bernard Allen replied in kind and set the tone for the opening half. Darragh Cummins and Murphy again edged Sligo in front, but Ruairi McNamee and Peter Cunningham were quick to respond.
Adrian Marren, Murphy and O’Kelly-Lynch were all on the mark again as Sligo finished the second quarter strongly, but crucially Murphy picked up a yellow card just before the break after tangling with Anton Sullivan.
Sligo led 0-7 to 0-5 at the break, but the visitors took the lead for the first time in the opening exchanges of the second half as veteran McNamee showed calmness and composure to hit the net.
Paddy Dunican came forward to point a free soon after, but he was soon picked the ball out of his own net at the other end after the excellent O’Kelly-Lynch finished from close range after good work from Pat Hughes.
Murphy was dismissed after seeing yellow for the second time following a high tackle, and points from McNamee and Cathal Mangan had Offaly back in front.
However, points from Hughes, Sean Carrabine and Cummins again left Sligo a ahead entering the closing stages.
McNamee took his personal tally to 1-5 to level, before Abbott saved the day for Offaly.
OFFALY: P Dunican (0-1, 1f); D Hogan, E Rigney, D Dempsey; C Donohoe, J Moloney, P McConway; E Carroll, C Mangan (0-1); N McNamee (1-5, 2f), P Cunningham (0-1), N Darby; B Allen (0-1), A Sullivan, R McNamee (0-1).
Subs: S Tierney for R McNamee (58), M Abbott (0-1) for Darby (64).
SLIGO: E Kilgannon; P McNamara, P Laffey, E McHugh; D Cummins (0-2), A McIntyre, M Gordon; P O’Connor, G O’Kelly-Lynch (1-2); N Ewing, N Murphy (0-3, 1f), K McKenna; S Carrabine (0-1), P Hughes (0-1), A Marren (0-1, 1f).
Subs: L Gaughan for McHugh (50), L Gilmartin for McKenna (60).
Ref: E O’Grady (LM).