Limerick 3-13 Offaly 0-15
Ian Ryan recaptured top form as Limerick upset the odds with a seven-point victory against Offaly in this afternoon’s All-Ireland SFC round 2 qualifier.
Ryan rocked Meath with a 3-7 blast in a 2008 qualifier and hit 1-7 today as Offaly were sent crashing out of the championship.
Offaly boss Tom Cribbin was non-committal on his future after the game and stated that he would take some time out to consider his options.
His side trailed by three points at half-time, 0-8 to 2-5, having fallen eight points behind with a quarter of an hour gone.
Offaly fought back to within two points of Limerick on four occasions during the second half but the concession of a soft third goal for Limerick with six minutes remaining killed the revival.
Joe Quinn’s error handed Ger Collins the chance to advance on goal and slot the ball past Alan Mulhall, who pulled off a couple of great stops during the game.
Ultimately, Offaly were made to pay for a tally of 15 wides during the game and from a defensive point of view, all three goals conceded were avoidable.
And it was Limerick’s full-forward line that did the damage as Ger Collins, Seamus O’Carroll and Ian Ryan finished with 3-9 from play between them.
And the hosts were 2-4 to 0-2 ahead with 15 minutes on the watch with Ryan bulging the Offaly net in the 12th minute before O’Carroll struck three minutes later.
Other Limerick goal chances went begging too as Stephen Kelly was denied twice – first by Offaly defender Brian Darby before goalkeeper Alan Mulhall smothered the flying wing-forward’s 17th minute effort from close range.
Offaly, fresh from their superb first round victory over Monaghan, were desperately slow to settle but in the final quarter of an hour of the first half, plus additional time, the Faithful County outscored their opponents by 0-6 to 0-1.
Offaly finally began to win some clean possession around midfield but shot themselves in the foot in attack, with 10 wides registered before half-time.
Niall Darby racked up half of those and in the spell when Offaly were on top before half-time, they hit wide after wide.
Offaly managed to keep the scoreboard ticking over as veteran Ciaran McManus landed four first half frees, including two superb wind-assisted efforts from the 45-yard line.
When Limerick were at their best, they troubled the Offaly full-back line with long, pumped deliveries while Offaly dangerman Niall McNamee was double-teamed as Shannonside defender Stephen Lavin played as a shield in front of the full-back line.
Wing back Pa Ranahan was having an influence too as he bombed up and down the left touchline, supplying quality ball to left corner forward Ryan.
Karol Slattery, named at wing back but operating in attack, had Offaly’s best sight of goal before half-time but shot wide in the 26th minute after taking a pass from McNamee.
LIMERICK: B Scanlon; T Stack, S Gallagher, S Lavin; J Riordan, J McCarthy, P Ranahan; S Buckley, T Lee (0-1); S Kelly (0-2f), J Mullane, M Sheehan; G Collins (1-2), S O’Carroll (1-0), I Ryan (1-7).
Subs: B Fitzpatrick for Mullane (48), E O’Connor for Gallagher (59), E Hogan (0-1) for O’Carroll (62), M McCormack for Riordan (69).
OFFALY: A Mulhall; S Pender, J Quinn, B Darby (0-1); N Darby (0-1), S Brady, S Lonergan; R Dalton, N Smith; C McManus (0-7f), R Brady, K Slattery; B Allen (0-1), K Casey (0-2), N McNamee (0-2).
Subs: P Bracken (0-1) for Slattery (40), N Dunne for N Darby (54), D Egan for Allen (61), N Spain for Lonergan (63), S Ryan for R Brady (69).
Referee: M Condon (Waterford).