Offaly take their revenge with victory over Wexford in Tailteann Cup

Offaly hold on for one-point win to make up for Leinster Championship defeat

Wexford 2-13 Offaly 3-11

Revenge was sweet for Offaly but they certainly won’t be shouting from any rooftops about their Tailteann Cup prospects after scraping past Wexford in Enniscorthy on Sunday afternoon.

Wexford had shocked Offaly in the championship a few weeks ago and they were not far off a repeat here at all as they fought to the bitter end. There was only a point in it at the finish and Wexford had attacked with great ferocity for the five minutes of injury-time as they chased the game.

Injury-time points from Kevin O'Grady and Donal Shanley (free) had brought it down to the minimum as Offaly survived on their wits late on before the final whistle brought relief and a home tussle with Wicklow next weekend.

It was a bright start to the Tailteann Cup. It was very evidently second-tier football but the appetite was there for both teams who really showed that they wanted to win and salvage something from their season.

Offaly played with a strong wind in the first half and a Diarmuid Egan goal helped them to a 1-2 to 0-2 lead after 12 minutes. Wexford levelled it up with an excellent 15th-minute goal from Dylan Furlong and their defence asked serious questions of Offaly as they tore up the field and registered 1-2 in the first half.

Offaly managed to lead by 1-7 to 1-5 at half-time with Ben Brosnan and Glen Malone missing goal chances for the losers and Bill Carroll scoring an excellent point on the stroke of half-time for Offaly.

The second half was a pulsating affair, even if the error count of both sides was too high. Offaly grabbed the initiative with a 38th-minute Lee Pearson goal and were unlucky when Jack Bryant hit the crossbar five minutes later.

Wexford got right back into it with a punched goal from Niall Hughes in the 47th minute after very poor Offaly defending. That left them trailing by a point and four minutes later, they were on level terms, 2-10 each with points from Mark Rossiter and Niall Hughes.

With the wind on their backs, they were now favourites but Offaly broke for the all important third goal in the 53rd minute with the veteran Niall McNamee scoring. It was, however, far from a done deal as Wexford kept driving. Eoghan Nolan reduced arrears to two points before a fine Anton Sullivan point put Offaly three clear with five minutes of normal time remaining.

Wexford chased the game desperately, leaving gaps at the back that Offaly didn't exploit thanks to some careless passing. The space was there to open up a safe four-point gap but Offaly couldn't do it. The two late points brought it down to a minimum but Paddy Dunican was able to find his man from the kick-out and Offaly held on for a nerve-tingling win.

WEXFORD: D Brooks; G Sheehan, E Porter (0-1), M Furlong; P Hughes, G Malone (0-1), D Furlong (1-0); L Coleman, N Hughes (1-1); D O'Toole (0-1), K O'Grady (0-2), A Tobin; B Brosnan (0-3, one free, one mark), E Nolan (0-2), S Ryan.

Subs: M Rossiter (0-1) for Ryan, D Shanley (0-1, free) for Tobin (both 44 mins), T Byrne for O'Toole (60), C Hughes for Brosnan (65).

OFFALY: P Dunican; L Pearson (1-0), D Hogan, N Darby (0-1, free); C Donoghue, J Moloney (0-1), R Egan; B Carroll (0-1), J Hayes; R McNamee, D Egan (1-0), K O'Neill (0-1); J Bryant, N McNamee (1-5, three frees, one mark), A Sullivan (0-2).

Subs: C Flynn for D Egan (h-t), C McNamee for Bryant (49), M Abbott for R Egan (62), D Hyland for Sullivan (68), K Dolan for Pearson (inj, 69).

Referee: M Deegan (Laois).

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