Offaly make light work of Antrim’s feeble challenge
More at stake next weekend when teams scheduled to meet in a relegation play-off
Ciaran Slevin who scored 1-4 for Offaly in the victory over Antrim at O’Connor Park. Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
Offaly 5-27 Antrim 4-9
It was shooting practice for Offaly players when they walloped an outclassed Antrim in Tullamore yesterday afternoon in a game that was really meaningless.
No matter what the result, the sides were destined to meet again next weekend to decide who meets the Division 2 winners in the relegation play -off and this was reflected by the very small crowd in O’Connor Park.
Antrim, in particular, displayed little interest in the game and only a handful of their team are likely to start in next Sunday’s much more important clash.
Offaly did not show their full hand either but they still went about their business in a much more impressive and professional manner.
Antrim were actually late for this game, resulting in the throw-in being delayed for 15 minutes and this summed up their afternoon as they offered almost no resistance to the home side.
Indeed, they would have received an even bigger beating if Offaly had really went for the jugular in the second half.
As it was, Offaly’s win was every bit as comfortable as the 5-27 to 4-9 final scoreline suggests.
The home side hit the ground running and it quickly became apparent that the only issue at stake was their winning margin.
Ciarán Slevin netted a well-taken second-minute goal and Offaly had 1-7 on the board before Antrim registered their first point through a Ciarán Clarke free.
The excellent Seán Cleary, and Nigel Elliott exchanged goals before Offaly pulled out of sight.
Offaly’s shooting was impressive but the level of resistance from the Antrim back line was in the sparse category to say the least.
Seán Cleary and Stephen Quirke (two) got further first-half goals as Offaly led by 5-16 to 1-3 at the break – the game was 24 minutes old before Shane Dooley hit the first wide of the encounter.
With the wind on their backs, Antrim coped a bit better in the second half but they were only on a damage limitation exercise.
It would be stretching things to suggest that they achieved that but they did manage to salvage some of their pride.
Full forward PJ O’Connell got in for a hat-trick of second half goals as Antrim ended up with a respectable 4-9 but a whopping 21 points still separated the sides at the final whistle.
Offaly didn’t actually manage to add to their tally of goals in the second half but one suspects they could have ran in another few goals had they truly put their minds to the task.
OFFALY: Conor Slevin; D Mooney, C Parlon, J Rigney; B Harding, C Egan, M Egan; D Morkan, K Brady (0-1); C Doughan (0-4), S Dooley (0-8, four frees, one 65), Ciaran Slevin (1-4); C Coughlan (0-2), S Cleary (2-3), S Quirke (2-5). Subs: G Conneely for M Egan (5 mins), C McDonald for Parlon (half-time), C Mahon for Quirke (58 mins), B Carroll for Ciaran Slevin (69 mins).
ANTRIM: S McToal; T O’Ciaran, P Burke, M Bradley (0-2); R McCambridge, T McCann, J McCreevy; M Donnelly, C McCann; S Beattie, S McAfee (0-1), C Clarke (0-5, frees); D McKernan, PJ O’Connell (3-0), N Elliott (1-1). Subs: N McKenna for McCambridge (21 mins), M Connolly for McCiaran (half-time), D McGuinness for Beattie (half-time), F Donnelly for McKernan (47 mins).
Referee: J Ryan (Tipperary).