Joey Wallace secures point for Meath with late punched goal against Offaly

Meath had missed a number of chances before substitute struck at the end of injury-time

Offaly 1-10 Meath 1-10

A Division Two relegation six-pointer ended in a result that could prove to be of limited benefit to both as Offaly and Meath played out a thrilling draw in O’Connor Park, Tullamore on Saturday afternoon.

Meath were certainly the more relieved to get the point while Offaly were devastated after the visitors were rescued by a goal right at the end of five minutes of injury-time, when sub Joey Wallace punched to the net after Offaly failed to clear their lines. Referee Fergal Kelly awarded the goal after consulting with his umpires about a square ball.

The Meath goal had been coming as they created a few other opportunities and Offaly goalkeeper Paddy Dunican and defenders had denied them with some great saves, but it was still a lost point for Offaly.


"We thought we might be able to hold on but wave after wave of attack was coming. I won't say it was inevitable that they would get a goal but we were hanging on," admitted Offaly manager John Maughan afterwards.

“It’s a rollercoaster of emotions to tell you the truth,” said Meath manager Andy McEntee. “You have five clearcut goal chances in a game and you don’t take any and then you scramble a goal that you probably shouldn’t get.”

The first half had been a very tight affair as Offaly had first use of a swirling wind. The sides were level on five occasions before points from Dylan Hyland and Mark Abbott gave them a 0-6 to 0-5 half-time lead.

Offaly held the initiative for much of the second half and were 0-10 to 0-8 ahead when points from Jordan Morris and Jason Scully levelled it up with eight minutes left.

A superb Niall McNamee goal in the 63rd minute when he interchanged with both Abbott and Anton Sullivan put Offaly on the verge of an important win. However, they couldn't hold on as Meath finally got the goal they had been hunting all afternoon after Thomas O'Reilly, Matthew Costello, Ronan Jones and Donal Keogan had all been denied with earlier chances.

OFFALY: P Dunican (0-1, 45); D Hogan, K Dolan, N Darby; C Donohue, J Lalor, C Doyle; B Carroll, J Hayes; M Abbott (0-1), D Dempsey, D Hyland (0-4); J Bryant (0-1), N McNamee (1-3, one free), R McNamee.

Subs: C O'Donoghue for Donohoe (20 mins), A Sullivan for O'Donoghue (51), K O'Neill for Bryant (58), C Flynn for Abbott (69), C Egan for R McNamee (71).

MEATH: H Hogan (0-2, two frees); R Clarke, E Harkin (0-1), J Muldoon; C Hickey, S McEntee, D Keogan (0-1); P Harnan, R Jones; C O'Sullivan, T O'Reilly, M Costello; J Scully (0-1), S Walsh (0-1, free), J Morris (0-4, two frees).

Subs: J O'Connor for Hickey (16 mins), R Ryan for Clarke (30), E Wallace for O'Reilly (51), J Wallace (1-0) for Costello, J McEntee for Costello (both 67).

Referee: F Kelly (Longford).