With a minute to go in this All-Ireland minor football semi-final, Offaly were within a kick of a ball from taking the game to extra-time. In fairness, having taken so long to shake the Leinster side off their tails, Down at last showed a killer instinct in finally ending the debate.
Their electric 16-year-old corner forward Ciaran Brannigan registered a point to establish a four-point cushion before substitute Richard Kerr found space in a wilting Offaly defence to grab Down’s first goal. Midfielder Peter Fitzpatrick delivered the coup de grace with the last point to leave a gap of eight at the end.
Offaly went down the tunnel at the break level at 0-7 to 1-4 and their corner-forward Ken Casey can claim the greatest credit for that. More of the same was expected after the interval but Down had other ideas on that and they turned the screw relentlessly from then on in.
: M McAllister; G Magee, C Garvey, H Magee; G McCartan, E McConville (0-1), K Duffin (0-1); J Colgan (0-1), P Fitzpatrick (0-1); D Lavery (0-2), M Clarke (0-4, 1f), S Grant (0-1); C Brannigan (0-2), R Kelly (0-1f), P McCumiskey (0-1). Subs: S O’Hagan for G Magee 30, R Kerr (1-0) for Lavery 30, J McClorey for O’Hagan 54, C Clerkin for McCumiskey 55, G Joyce for McAllister 61.
: D Bracken; J Guinan, D Larkin, D Horan; J Knight, R Dalton, G Grehan; R Connor, R Brady; N Darby, C Mahon, S Lonergan; W Mullhall, P Duffy, K Casey. Subs: J Gorman for Brady 35, B Kelly for Lonergan 39, J Ryan for Guinan 45, G Treacy for Duffy 49.
: M Meade (Limerick).