Bergin goal steals win for Offaly

Offaly 1-12 Carlow 1-10

Bergin goal steals win for Offaly

Offaly 1-12 Carlow 1-10

A 68th minute Joe Bergin goal stole victory for Offaly following a dramatic encounter at Dr Cullen Park.

Carlow were reduced to 14 men following a Sean Murphy red card after four minutes, and were 0-08 to 0-04 in arrears by the 45th minute.

However, Carlow took control firing 1-04 without reply including a 49th minute Craig Doyle goal to take a 1-09 to 0-08 lead after 57 minutes.

However, Bergin's goal and a Brian Carroll point ensured a two-point Offaly win.

Offaly began this game brightly with Shane Dooley scoring the first of his five points after just two minutes.

The visitors were also handed a goal chance in the early stages after James Mulrooney combined with Dooley, but the Tullamore clubman blazed his effort wide of the posts.

Carlow were dealt a major blow two minutes later following a straight red card for Murphy, after he collided with Cathal Parlon.

The Ballinkillen clubman, in his first season on the Carlow Senior team sent to the line by referee Sean Cleere, in a decision that baffled the Carlow half-forward, and left manager John Meyler incensed with the match official.

Offaly raced into a three-point lead by the tenth minute following well struck points from play by Parlon and Brian Carroll.

Despite Carlow's numerical disadvantage, John Meyler's charges worked hard, and were reasonably effective in the midfield sector.

Team captain Edward Coady in his 150th appearance for Carlow impressing alongside Mark Brennan in the centre.

Former captain Shane Kavanagh opened Carlow's account with a pointed free in the 12th minute, after David King fouled the in-rushing Jack Kavanagh.

Carlow weren't without their scoring opportunities, but they fired five wides by the 21st minute, as Offaly were more clinical in front of the posts.

Joe Bergin slotted over two points from frees in the 16th and 19th minutes to move 0-05 to 0-01 ahead, but Carlow failed to give up.

Scores from Shane Kavanagh and John Michael Nolan brought the Barrowsiders back into contention, but a Sean Ryan point gave Offaly a 0-06 to 0-04 half-time lead.

Ollie Baker's side could afford six first half wides, but came under huge pressure on the restart, as Carlow's numerical disadvantage failed to show.

Scores were at a premium in the opening stages of the second half, with a brace of Dooley points from frees helping Offaly to a 0-08 to 0-04 lead by the 45th minute.

Carlow kept up the pressure and were rewarded for their efforts, leaving Offaly defending for their lives for the bulk of the closing 35 minutes.

Marty Kavanagh was clinical from frees, while Doyle's goal sprung the game to life.

Marty Kavanagh firing a high ball in on top of Carlow full-forward line and Doyle smashing the ball past James Dempsey with a first-time strike.

This pushed Carlow 1-06 to 0-08 ahead, with the hosts continuing to punish Offaly.

Offaly desperately required scores, but to no avail over the next four minutes as they fired three wides from the next three attacks, with Dooley and James Mulrooney wasteful in front of the posts.

Nineteen-year old Marty Kavanagh continued impress from dead-balls, bringing his tally to five points with scores in the 55th and 57th minutes to give Carlow a 1-09 to 0-08 lead.

Offaly bagged their first score in 14 minutes, after Dooley claimed his first point from play, with Baker's charges now showing urgency for scores.

Joe Bergin was denied of a goal with five minutes of normal time remaining with Nicky Roberts pulling off a superb save in the Carlow goalmouth.

Dooley and Colin Egan claimed points to reduce the deficit to a point in the 66th minute.

Offaly kept up the pressure on Carlow in the closing stages, with Seir Kieran clubman Bergin eventually rewarded for his efforts, as he snuck the ball past Roberts to give Offaly a 1-12 to 1-09 lead.

Brian Carroll pushed Offaly into a three point lead late on and although Mark Brennan claimed a score in the dying minutes it was to little too late for Carlow.

Scorers for Offaly: S Dooley (3f, 1 '65) 0-05; J Bergin (2f) 1-02; B Carroll 0-02; C Egan, C Parlon, S Ryan 0-01 each.

Scorers for Carlow: M Kavanagh (4f) 0-04; S Kavanagh (2f) 0-03; C Doyle 1-00; M Brennan, E Coady, JM Nolan 0-01 each.

OFFALY: J Dempsey; C McDonald, D Kenny, D King; D Morkan, R Hanniffy, K Brady; J Bergin, B Carroll; C Egan, C Parlon, D Molloy; S Dooley, J Mulrooney, S Ryan. Subs: D Mooney for King (HT); O Kealey for Molloy (HT); T Carroll for Ryan (51); T Bolger for Parlon (64); S Cleary for Mulrooney (65)

CARLOW: N Roberts; D English, E Nolan, D Shaw; A Corcoran, R Coady, J O'Hara; M Brennan, E Coady; S Murphy, S Kavanagh, M Kavanagh; C Doyle, JM Nolan, J Kavanagh. Subs: P Coady for J Kavanagh (46); P Nolan for Doyle (66)

REFEREE: Sean Cleere (Kilkenny)

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