Offaly ended a run of 12 months without a competitive senior football victory yesterday when overwhelming Laois in the second half of their O’Byrne Cup tie at O’Connor Park.
A goal from debutant Nigel Bracken gave the home side a 1-4 to 0-6 lead at the interval but Pat Flanagan’s men took complete control after the restart as Bernard Allen, Graham Guilfoyle and John Maloney all chipped in with excellent scores from play. A stunning sidestep and finish from Allen with just over five minutes remaining made Offaly’s victory safe, while it was only the closing minutes that Gareth Dillon and Nigel Murphy kicked the only Laois scores of the half.
Scorers for Offaly: B Allen 1-3 (1f), N Bracken 1-0, W Mulhall 0-3f, R Allen, N Dunne, G Guilfoyle, J Maloney, J Evans & D Kelly (f) 0-1 each.
Scorers for Laois: J O’Loughlin 0-2, C Kelly 0-2f, R Munnelly, B Guing, M O’Halloran, G Dillon (f) & N Murphy 0-1 each.
OFFALY: A Mulhall; D Brady, P McConway, J O’Connor; C Kiely, J Maloney, D Hogan; G Guilfoyle, R Allen; K Mullally, M Young, N Bracken; B Allen, N Dunne, W Mulhall. Subs: P Sullivan for Young (32), D Kelly for Guilfoyle (46), J Evans for Mullally (56), B Crombie for Kiely (63), M Dempsey for Allen (65), J Geraghty for Hogan (67).
LAOIS: E Culliton; Adam Campion, P McMahon, G Hanrahan; D Strong, P Begley, P McEvoy; J O’Loughlin, K Meaney; J Finn, E O’Carroll, B Guing; G Dillon, R Munnelly, C Kelly. Subs: M Campion for O’Loughlin (34 — B/C), N Murphy for Munnelly (56), K Booth for Meaney (58), G McEvoy for Strong (60), M O’Halloran for O’Carroll (63), N Mullin for Kelly (69).
Referee: Fergal Barry (Kildare).