Offaly too good for bottom of the table Antrim

The Faithful get off to a flyer at Ballycastle before fending off Antrim comeback

Antrim’s Odhran McFadden tries to race clear of Offaly goalscorer Shane Dooley. Photograph: Inpho

Antrim’s Odhran McFadden tries to race clear of Offaly goalscorer Shane Dooley. Photograph: Inpho

 

Antrim 0-19 Offaly 2-17

Just four points separated Offaly and Antrim at the final whistle at Ballycastle but in truth the visitors were never really in danger of defeat against a Saffron side that at least restored some pride after last week’s mauling by Waterford.

The Faithful got off to a dream start when Shane Dooley rippled the back of the Antrim net after just 17 seconds. The visitors went on to add a further 0-3 without reply for a 1-3 to no score lead after 12 minutes.

Antrim opened their account through a Paul Shiels free but within seconds, Dooley struck for his second goal when put through by Joe Bergin.

Playing with the wind, Antrim slowly began to grind their way into the game and on the half hour mark had cut the gap to three points, 2-6 to 0-9, with Conor Johnston accounting for three of the Antrim scores and Michael Bradley adding two from distance.

Bergin added his second of the day before forcing a superb save from Chris O’Connell on the stroke of half-time. Dooley’s resultant 65 drifted wide for a 2-7 to 0-9 half-time lead for Offaly.

When Antrim sub Ciaran Clarke pointed on 65 minutes, just four separated the sides, 2-14 to 0-16. Throughout the game Offaly were coming by their scores slightly easier than their hosts and as previously when the gap narrowed, Whelehan’s side quickly restored a wider margin, this time through subs Carroll and Cillian Kiely.

The home side did however tack on the final two points of the day, the final one coming from Bradley who finished with a total of 0-5, all from play.

Antrim: C O’Connell; O McFadden, T McCann (0-1), T O Ciarain; E McAlonan, R McCambridge, P Shiels (0-2, 1f); A Graffin, S McCrory (0-1); D Hamill (0-1), C Carson (0-1), M Bradley (0-5); Conor Johnson (0-4, 2f), C McCann, S McNaughton

Subs: N McManus (0-2, 1f) for T O Ciarain (ht), PJ O’Connell for C McCann (ht), M Donnelly for A Graffin (37), E Campbell (0-1) for S McNaughton (48), C Clarke (0-1) for D Hamill (51)

Offaly: J Dempsey; S Wynne, D Shortt, D King; C Parlon, C Egan, E Murphy; S Ryan, P Camon; E Nolan, J Mulrooney, J Bergin (0-4), S Quirke (0-1), D Currams (0-3), S Dooley (2-6, 5f)

Subs: C McDonald for S Wynne (39), S Cleary for J Mulrooney (50), B Carroll (0-2, 1f) for S Dooley (51), C Kiely (0-1) for E Nolan (56), C Mulrooney for P Camon (63)

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