Offaly advance despite lingering Mullingar hangover

Offaly 0-17 London 1-7: Offaly may have beaten London but it was evident that they still hadn’t left the one-point defeat by Westmeath in the Leinster Champions behind them, with manager Pat Flanagan admitting that the players were suffering from a hangover as a result of events in Mullingar a fortnight ago.

Offaly advance despite lingering Mullingar hangover

Apart from the pain of losing the game, it was evident that there was plenty of ill feeling arising from the circumstances that led to experienced midfielder Niall Smith sitting out this encounter.

The Gracefield man was hit with a one-game suspension after his involvement in an incident after the final whistle that left Kieran Martin with a bloody nose but Flanagan backed his man.

“We’ve a big leader in Niall Smith and I have to compliment him on his behaviour during the game last week when he was being verbally and physically abused all right through the game and he kept his calm right through it.

“It’s disappointing from a GAA point of view and for me personally, who has been involved in football for over 50 years, to see what happened in the end but I think if it had been dealt with during the game, it wouldn’t have happened to Niall at the end.”

“All we wanted to do today was get over this game. A home draw would be absolutely brilliant and no matter who we play against, we’d absolutely relish it. We’ll keep our fingers crossed but the most important thing is to be in the pot.

“The whole idea was to get across the line today. There was extreme disappointment after what happened in Mullingar. Today’s game was (about getting) a win if we could get it any cost. It wasn’t great football out there, fellas were a bit flat but the most important thing was we got the result.”

Even when analysing what had occurred in the previous 70-odd minutes of football, Flanagan kept coming back to the battle with the Lakesiders.

“There was a strong wind there. Again, we had 17 shots on goal in the first half and got seven points, so it wasn’t a true reflection of the game I thought but at the same time, it is difficult to play after losing a championship match.

“We had them built up for that game and they are neighbours so it was difficult to come back for the first training session after and the air hasn’t cleared yet but hopefully this will get out of the system and we’re looking forward to the next game.

“We just played in spasms. We didn’t play anything close to what we did against Longford. That was a bit disappointing and our energy levels and work-rate weren’t anything close to what they should be. But it’s always going to be difficult after losing to Westmeath.

Nigel Dunne weighed in with seven points, including five in the second half, while Niall McNamee added four from play before being taken off as a precaution.

London led by 1-4 to 0-2 after 22 minutes, with Patrick O’Hara fisting the goal but they failed to score for another 40 minutes, while Offaly managed 13 points without reply to pull clear.

Scorers for Offaly:

N Dunne (0-7 frees); N McNamee (0-4); B Allen (0-3, 2 frees); N Darby, A Sullivan, N Bracken (0-1 each)

Scorers for London:

P O’Hara (1-2); A Moyles, L Gavaghan, S Conroy (free), D Molloy (0-1 each)

OFFALY:

A Mulhall, B Darby, E Rigney, S Pender, N Darby, P Cunningham, J O’Connor, E Carroll, G Guilfoyle, A Sullivan, N McNamee, M Brazil, B Allen, N Dunne, J Moloney ]

Subs:

N Bracken for Moloney (45), J Gethings for Guilfoyle (52), W Mulhall for McNamee (58), J Lalor for B Darby (62), K Garry for A Mulhall (64), L Fox for Carroll (66)

LONDON:

G McEvoy, P Butler, C Carty, C Dunne, D Ryan, C Healy, D McGreevy, J Moran, L Gavaghan, A Moyles, M Gottsche, C Coyne, S Conroy, C Óg Greene, P O’Hara.

Subs:

E Murray for Moran (48), K Butler for Coyne (51), E Mageean for Greene (63), C O’Neill for Ryan (64), D Molloy for O’Hara (66)

Referee:

D Coldrick (Meath)

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