NFL Division Three round-up: Tipp sink Offaly with second half blitz

Longford boost survival hopes against Sligo, Armagh thrash Louth by 14 points

CJ McGourty’s goal helped Antrim beat Laois. Photograph: John McIlwaine/Inpho

Tipperary 2-15 Offaly 2-11

Tipperary produced a storming closing half hour to remain on course for promotion with a four point win over Offaly in Tullamore on Sunday.

Tipperary were in trouble when Joe O’Connor’s goal gave Offaly a 2-9 to 1-6 lead four minutes into the second half but they got completely on top after that.

They had the gap back to two points when a wonderful individual goal from Michael Quinlivan put them 2-10 to 2-9 ahead with eighteen minutes left.


The winners went on to outscore the home side by five points to two to secure a deserved win. Offaly, still smarting from their thirty point hammering by Armagh, gave them plenty of food for thought with the wind on their backs in the first half.

A goal after a shocking defensive mix up folowing a Nigel Dunne shot gave Offaly a 1-2 to 0-3 lead after 13 minutes and they led by 1-7 to 1-5 at half time with Tipp’s goal coming from Robbie Kiely and Michael Brazil and George Hannigan receiving straight red cards after a melee.

Tipperary: E Comerford; A Campbell, P Codd, S O'Connell (0-1); B Maher, R Kiely (1-1), J Feehan (0-1); L Casey (0-1), G Hannigan; B Fox, K O'Halloran (0-3, 3f), J Keane (0-1, f); C Sweeney (0-4, 1f), M Quinlivan (1-0), L Boland (0-1). Subs: J Kennedy (0-1) for Boland (h/t), K Fahey (0-1) for Maher (55m), W Connors for O'Connell (63m), L McGrath for Casey (65m).

Offaly: A Mulhall; B Darby, J Lalor, S Pender; N Darby, P Cunningham (0-1), J O'Connor (1-0); E Carroll, D Hanlon; S Nally (0-2), G Guilfoyle (0-1), M Brazil; S Doyle (0-1), N Dunne (1-3, 1f), B Allen (0-3, 2f). Subs: J Walsh for Doyle (44m), J Gethings for Hanlon (58m), A Mahon for O'Connor (59m), R McNamee for Allen (63m), D Hogan for Nally (Black card, 69m), W Mulhall for Dunne (72m).

Referee - J Hickey (Carlow).

Longford 0-16 Sligo 2-7

Longford’s Division Three status got a boost when they earned a much needed win over Sligo that halted a run of three defeats in a row.

Denis Connerton’s side were full value for the win against a Sligo side that had to play the second half with 14 men after Charlie Harrison was sent off near half-time for a second yellow card.

Longford controlled the first half but were only ahead by one at the break; 0-10 to 2-3. The defensive problems that have dogged them in recent games were evident in the opening half when they conceded two soft goals; Stephen Coen raising the green flag twice for the Yeats County.

Sean McCormack was accurate in front of the posts kicking four fine frees in that half while Robbie Smyth proved a threat with two points. Darren Gallagher (excellent score), James McGivney and Barry McKeon got Longford’s other points in that half.

Longford were denied a penalty in the 14th minute when Michael Quinn was taken down but referee Sean Lonergan let play continue. Aidan McIntyre’s vital block denied Longford’s Liam Connerton from getting a goal in the second minute.

Despite kicking four wides in the early stages of the second half Longford finally got off the mark with a fine McCormack point; the Killoe man ended the game with 7 points (five frees). Sligo cut the gap to three but that was as close they could get to Longford as the Midlanders held on for the win.

Longford: P Collum; D Brady, B Gilleran, B O'Farrell; D McElligott, P McCormack, M Quinn; D Gallagher (B Farrell 69), A Farrell; P McGee (D Masterson 47), J McGivney (R McEntire 69), B McKeon (D Mimnagh 70); R Smyth (L Moran 69), L Connerton, S McCormack. Longford scorers: S McCormack 0-7 (5f), R Smyth 0-4 (2f), B McKeon, J McGivney 0-2 each, D Gallagher 0-1.

Sligo: A Devaney; N Gaughan, R Donavan, C Harrison; C Cawley (B Egan bc 59), N Ewing, K McDonnell; P O'Connor (S Gilmartin ht), A McIntrye (C Davey 70+5); J Kelly (K Cawley 54), C Brehany (G O'Kelly-Lynch 54), E McHugh; S Coen (P Hughes 57), A Marren, N Murphy. Sligo scorers: S Coen 2-0, A Marren, A Devaney ('45, 1f) 0-2 each, A McIntyre, N Murphy 0-1 each.

Referee: S Lonergan (Tipperary)

Armagh 3-15 Louth 0-11

In form Armagh brought Louth’s unbeaten run to a shuddering halt with a comprehensive 14-point win in Drogheda.

Kieran McGeeney’s men simply had to win to stay in the promotion picture, but the outcome was never in doubt as they closed to within a point of their hosts and new joint-leaders Tipperary, who they still have to play.

It didn’t look good for the visitors after 30 seconds when Aidan Forker received his marching orders for striking Derek Maguire, but referee Ciaran Branagan evened up the numbers 11 minutes later, dismissing Louth’s Anthony Williams for a similar offence.

Armagh had already built up a 1-1 to no score lead at that stage with veteran Ciaran McKeever netting in the ninth minute.

And when Louth lost Williams they kicked on again, a superb Niall Rowland finish making it 2-3 to 0-1.

Louth did come into the game a bit before half-time and closed the deficit to four, 2-5 to 0-6, but Armagh took control again after the break and were well on their way to victory by the time Jamie Clarke slotted home a late penalty, bringing the Orchard goal-tally to nine in two games.

Armagh: B Hughes; G McCabe, C Vernon, P Hughes (0-1); N Rowland (1-0), B Donaghy, A McKay; S Sheridan (0-1), A Findon; R Grugan (0-4, 1f), A Duffy, N Gormley (0-5, 3f); J Clarke (1-3), C McKeever (1-0), A Forker. Subs: B Crealey for A Findon (27), S Heffron for N Rowland (59), G McParland (0-1) for C McKeever (68), C O'Hanlon for A Duffy (68), N McConville for R Grugan (72).

Louth: C Lynch; P Rath, P Reilly, K Carr; D Maguire, J Bingham, A Williams; T Durnin (0-2), D Byrne; J Stewart, P Smith (0-3), B Duffy; R Moore, E O'Connor, R Burns (0-4, 3f, 1'45'). Subs: A Reid for R Moore (21), G McSorley (0-1) for J Bingham (45), C McKeever (0-1) for E O'Connor (55), K Murphy for K Carr (68), R Holcroft for R Burns (70+).

Referee: C Branagan (Down)

Antrim 1-10 Laois 0-11

Antrim eased their relegation worries a little with a hard earned 1-10 to 0-11 win over Laois, at Corrigan Park on Sunday, but the Saffrons will not regard this victory as one of their best.

Laois played with 14 men throughout the second half and could have snatched, a draw but for wayward shooting in the closing stages, as they brought their total of wides to 12. Antrim were also guilty of waywardness as they chalked up nine missed chances. The teams were level five times but this was no cracker of a game.

A 36th minute goal by CJ McGourty was what separated the sides at the finish. A centre from the left broke to McGourty in front of goals and from close range he rattled the Laois net, to put the home side 1-5 to 0-5 ahead.

Seconds from the whistle, Damian O’Connor was red-carded and the visitors were down to 14 for the second half and two points behind.

Kevin O’Carroll and Alan Fennell had the sides level within five minutes of the restart and it was level twice more before McGourty (free) and corner-back Conor Hamill sent Antrim two points ahead with four minutes left. There was also four minutes of extra time played but only one point from each side was added.

Antrim: C Kerr; C Hamill (0-1), P Gallagher, P Healy; P McBride (0-2), D Lynch, P McAleer; J Dowling (0-1), S Beatty; K Niblock, R McCann, M Fitzpatrick; S McGarry, C Murray (0-2), CJ McGourty (1-4, 0-3 frees). Subs: S McVeigh for Donnelly (53).

Black Cards: K Niblock (35) replaced by S Donnelly.

Yellow Cards: CJ McGourty (27), D Lynch (41), R McCann (47).

Laois: G Brady; D Strong, D Booth, A Farrell (0-1); S Attride, J Kelly, P McMahon (0-1); J Finn (0-1), J O'Loughlin; N Donoher, D Conway (0-2), D O'Connor; R Munnelly (0-2, 0-2 frees), D Kingston, P Kingston. Subs: E Buggie for Attride (20); K O'Carroll for D Kingston (25); C Murphy for Munnelly (49).

Black Card: D Conway (35) replaced by S Moore.

Yellow Cards: A Farrell (11), D Booth (16).

Red Card: D O'Connor (41, first half extra time).

Referee: E O'Grady (Leitrim).