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Tailteann Cup: Down 2-22 Offaly 3-13

Monday 3rd June 2024

With the final round of Tailteann Cup group 4 a dead rubber, with Down already guaranteed to top the group and Offaly set to finish last with no points on the board, Mourne manager Conor Laverty made a host of changes to his starting line-up.


And while it looked like Down were heading for a comfortable victory, leading by eight points at the start of the second half and Offaly reduced to 14 men, the Faithful county had goals in the bag and it wasn't until late on that Down pulled away again with goals of their own to win 2-22 to 3-13.

There were 10 different scorers for the Mourne side in the first half when they led by seven, 0-16 to 1-6 at the break, but Offaly got off to a promising start with a three-pointer in the first minute.


Gareth McKibben pointed for Down with 30 seconds on the clock but Cathal Flynn responded for Offaly with a great run, offloading to Cathal Donoghue who cut around the back and finished well to the net.


His side wouldn't score again for 16 minutes however, while Down notched up six more points to lead 0-7 to 1-0.


Keith O'Neill stopped the rot with a point for Offaly but the Mournemen kept the scoreboard ticking over nicely with points from Shealan Johnston, Rory Mason, Paul Quinn with a brace, Danny Magill, a couple of beauties from Shane Annett, Ben McConville and McKibben ending the half as he started it with the final point. Offaly kept in touch somewhat during that spell, with five points of their own to trail 0-16 to 1-6 at the break.


It looked like all was lost for Declan Kelly's men when Eoin Carroll was dismissed at the start of the second half and Magill pointed to put Down eight points in front, but that seemed to galvanise Offaly and with 51 minutes on the clock they had levelled the game.


Cormac Egan scored their second maximum on 45 minutes and six minutes later John Furlong netted to square proceedings at 0-19 to 3-10.

It was tit-for-tat after that with he sides level again 0-21 to 3-12 as full-time approached but Down had more in the tank and the subs made their mark, with Oisin Savage hitting the net on 69 minutes and Jack McCartan tagging on a point. Jordan Hayes replied with a point for Offaly but Ryan Magill had the last word raising a second green flag for Down moments before the final whistle.


Scorers – Down: O Savage 1-0, R Magill 1-0, D Magill 0-4, P Quinn 0-4 (2f), G McKibben 0-2, C McCrickard 0-2,(1m), S Annett 0-2, J McCartan, M Rooney, P McCarthy, S Johnston, J Guinness, B McConville, R Mason, C Mooney 0-1 each. Offaly: J Furlong 1-0, C Egan 1-0, C Donoghue 1-0, N Dunne 0-6 (2f), C Flynn 0-2, L Pearsan, D McDaid, J Hayes, K O'Neill, J Bryant 0-1 each


Down: J O'Hare; F Murdock, M Rooney, P McCarthy; G McKibben, D Magill, S Johnston; J Guinness, J Flynn; R Mason, S Annett, B McConville; P Quinn, C McCrickard, R Magill


Subs: C Mooney for Murdock (38), J Doran for McConville (46), E Brown for D Magill (46), O Savage for Quinn (51), J McCartan for Mason (57)



Offaly: I Duffy; D Finnaran, D Dempsey, J Furlong; C Egan, P Cunningham, L Pearsan; E Carroll, C Donoghue; D McDaid, C Flynn, J Hayes; N Dunne, K O'Neill, J Bryant


Subs: K McDermott for Donoghue (h-t), J McEvoy for Bryant (55), A Sullivan for Dunne (60)


Referee: Kieran Eannetta (Tyrone)