“We thought it was a 3pm start”, said Antrim manager Kevin Ryan afterwards. “That threw us off and may have had something to do with the first half. ”
The sides will meet again in a relegation play-off final on Sunday at Ballycastle so both managers fielded experimental teams. But Brian Whelahan had a lot more to be happy about as Conor Doughan, Seán Cleary and Stephen Quirke all scored freely, although the Offaly manager expressed some concern at the way PJ O’Connell cut through his defence to register a second half hat-trick.
“Antrim scored 3-7 in the second half and most of that was from play – it showed what they can do when teams back off them and concede primary possession. Any time he (O’Connell) got the ball he went at our full-back line and to be fair, he left them for dead. That’s a big worry going into next Sunday,” said Whelahan.
Scorers for Offaly: S Quirke 2-5, S Cleary 2-3, S Dooley 0-8 (0-3f, 0-2 ‘65s), C Slevin 1-4, C Doughan 0-4, C Coughlan 0-2, K Brady 0-1.
Scorers for Antrim: PJ O’Connell 3-0, C Clarke 0-5f, N Elliot 1-1, M Bradley 0-2, S McAfee 0-1.
OFFALY: Conor Slevin; D Mooney, J Rigney, B Harding; C Parlon, C Egan, M Egan; D Morkan, K Brady; C Doughan, S Dooley, Ciarán Slevin; C Coughlan, S Cleary, S Quirke.
Subs: G Conneelly for M Egan (5), C McDonald for Parlon (ht), C Mahon for Quirke (63), B Carroll for Doughan (69).
ANTRIM: S McToal; T O’Ciarán, P Burke, M Bradley; R McCambridge, T McCann, J McGreevy; M Donnelly, D McKernan; C McCann, S McAfee, S Beatty; C Clarke, PJ O’Connell, N Elliot.
Subs: N McKenna for McCambridge (21), M Connolly for O’Ciarán (ht), D McGuinness for Beatty (ht), F Donnelly for McKernan (48).
Referee: Johnny Ryan (Tipperary).