Offaly see off London without shooting the lights out
Ruairi McNamee’s 51st-minute goal led to a late scoring surge for Offaly
Ruairi McNamee celebrates scoring a goal for Offaly in the All-Ireland SFC first-round qualifier against London at Bord na Mona O’Connor Park in Tullamore. Photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho
Offaly 1-21 London 1-11
Without hitting top form and only playing well in fits and starts, Offaly coasted into the second round of the qualifiers with an ultimately comfortable win over London in Tullamore.
While a 10-point winning margin gave Offaly plenty of breathing space, it wasn’t all plain sailing and London were more competitive than the final score suggests.
Offaly were not convincing at times and made too many errors when playing with the wind in the first half. A Killian Butler goal for London made it 1-0 to 0-3 after six minutes and the visitors were well in it when they trailed by 0-7 to 1-3 with half-time approaching. Offaly got the final four points to lead by 0-10 to 1-3 at the break.
That lead gave them the cushion they needed. Offaly led by 0-14 to 1-3 after 43 minutes but four points on the bounce reduced it to four points and London were still in it. Ruairi McNamee’s 51st-minute goal more or less ended it as a contest.
With 15 minutes left, London still had an outside chance as they trailed by 1-15 to 1-10 but Offaly finished well as they scored six of the last seven points to secure the win they needed with Bernard Allen scoring 11 points, six from play.
OFFALY: P Dunican; D Hogan, E Rigney, D Dempsey; C Donohoe, J Moloney, N Darby (0-1); E Carroll, P Cunningham; S Horan, A Sullivan (0-3), C Mangan (0-1); B Allen (0-11, five frees), N McNamee (0-3, one free), R McNamee (1-1).
Subs: J O’Connor for Donohoe (27 mins), P McConway for Horan (60), M Abbott for Mangan (62), S Tierney (0-1) for R McNamee (65), S Nally for N McNamee (68), C Carroll for Carroll (71).
LONDON: G McEvoy; P Butler, M Moynihan, C O’Neill; D Carrabine, M Clarke, E Flanagan; A McDermott, L Feerick; M Gottsche, L Gavaghan (0-1), B Tully; C Doran (0-6, three frees), F McMahon (0-2), K Butler (1-1).
Subs: N Maher for McEvoy (h/t), L Gallagher for McDermott, L Mulvey (0-1) for Tully (both 46 mins), A McGarvey for Carrabine (53), D Dunne for McMahon (66).
Referee: N Mooney (Cavan).