Allen and Dunne added to Offaly attack

Allen and Dunne added to Offaly attack

The Offaly team to take on Wexford in Saturday's Leinster SFC first round encounter in Tullamore (throw-in 5pm) includes two Championship debutants.

Under-21 starlet Bernard Allen and Nigel Dunne, who now plays for Dublin club St. Sylvester's, are the newcomers to this level. They will join captain Niall McNamee in the full-forward line.

Gracefield's Niall Smith has been selected to start at midfield alongside Richie Dalton, after doing well there as a second half substitute in Offaly's last league game against Westmeath.

The likes of Scott Brady, Karol Slattery and veteran wing forward Ciaran McManus, who is in his 16th Championship season, provide an experienced backbone for Tom Cribbin's young side.

A victory on Saturday would set up a rematch against Westmeath with the winners of that tie facing a semi-final against either Carlow or Louth.

Commenting on Offaly's Championship prospects, manager Cribbin told the Tullamore Tribune: "There is a major opportunity there. With the way the team is going at the minute, we have to look at getting to a Leinster final.

"As long as there are no injuries, I give us a big chance. Our target is to get to a Leinster final. It is 50-50 between us and Wexford, and then us and Westmeath.

"Louth would be 50-50 again if we get there. I know Westmeath and Wexford are looking at the draw in the same frame of mind but we have a great opportunity."

Brian Connor, the son of All-Ireland SFC winning captain Richie Connor, is unavailable to the Faithfuls as he has left on a summer trip to Boston. Graham Guilfoyle is also due to head Stateside next week, but could be used as a substitute against Wexford.

OFFALY (SFC v Wexford): Alan Mulhall; Brian Darby, Scott Brady, Sean Pender; Stephen Lonergan, Ross Brady, Karol Slattery; Richie Dalton, Niall Smith; Ciaran McManus, Sean Ryan, Anton Sullivan; Bernard Allen, Nigel Dunne, Niall McNamee (capt).

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