Longford 0-19 Offaly 0-15
Longford survived a late Offaly rally and their own wastefulness to chisel out a deserved victory over Offaly at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park.
Jack Sheedy’s men kicked some incredible wides and also failed to find the net from three gilt-edged goal opportunities. As well as that, Paul Barden had what seemed a perfectly good goal disallowed in the first half.
Having said that, Offaly did show plenty of guts but the 66th minute sending off of David Hanlon, who received a second yellow card for an altercation with the brilliant Brian Kavanagh, ended their chances and Longford did enough to secure their Leinster quarter-final against Wexford next month.
Offaly flew out of the traps with and with their midfield pairing of Ruairí Allen and Niall Smith having the upper hand, the supply to McNamee and his U21 corner-men, Joe Maher and Peter Cunningham paid handsome dividends.
The trio ended the first half with seven points between them, five of which came from play, and McNamee was absolutely magical on occasions as the visitors moved into a 0-9 to 0-5 lead after half an hour.
By that stage, Paul Barden had had a goal controversially disallowed and also dragged a one-on-one opportunity wide though, and Longford did gain a greater share of the possession in the last 10 minutes of the opening half.
Points from Sean McCormack, Shane Mulligan and Mark Hughes reduced the margin to the minimum before McNamee slotted a free with the last kick of the period to make it 0-10 to 0-8.
Longford resumed as they ended the first half and three points put them ahead. Although McNamee drew the teams level with a left-footed finish from 40m, it was the home team that was well on top.
Barden had a shot well saved by Alan Mulhall but Michael Quinn swooped to point from the rebound and that kick-started a run of five consecutive points that really decided the tie.
Offaly did get it back down to two points but Francis McGee, Barden and Kavanagh all kicked late points to seal the win.
SCORERS FOR LONGFORD: 0-7(5fs); B Kavanagh, F McGee 0-3 each; P Barden, M Hughes 0-2 each; M Quinn, S Mulligan 0-1 each
SCORERS FOR OFFALY: N McNamee 0-7(3fs); J Maher, G Guilfoyle, P Cunningham 0-2 each; R Allen, C Hurley 0-1 each
LONGFORD: D Sheridan, D Brady, B O’Farrell, F Battrim, CP Smyth, E Williams, S Mulligan, J Keegan, M Quinn, S Doyle, F McGee, P Barden, M Hughes, B Kavanagh, S McCormack . Subs: P Foy for Doyle inj (55), M Brady for Keegan (57), A Rowan for Hughes (61)
OFFALY: A Mulhall, D Brady, D Hanlon, N Darby, B Darby, J Moloney, M Brazil, R Allen, N Smith, E Carroll, G Guilfoyle, A Sullivan, J Maher, N McNamee, P Cunningham. Subs: N Geraghty for Allen (45),
REFEREE: M Higgins (Fermanagh)