Offaly and Longford continued their fierce rivalry of recent years with their latest instalment serving up a pulsating and entertaining draw in Tullamore.
The counties have grown well accustomed to each other in recent years in league and championship while Longford also narrowly edged out the Faithful County in the recent O’Byrne Cup final.
This one could have gone either way. Longford deserved their half-time lead and up two points with a half an hour to go, they looked well equipped to see the game out.
Offaly had other ideas and they raised a spirited comeback to kick four of the last six points with captain Niall Darby landing the equaliser with four minutes to go.
The home side had plenty of chances to win it in the wind up, including a Conor McNamee goal chance 20 minutes from time that hit the post. But they will also realise that they were second best for the opening 40 minutes.
Longford played against the wind in the opening half but they stuck to their task and got their noses in front on 20 minutes.
Although Offaly got back on level terms, Longford’s star man Darren Gallagher got the last score of the half to give them a deserved 0-6 to 0-5 half-time lead.
Gallagher had a towering game and two more points from the midfielder had them 0-8 to 0-6 ahead on 40 minutes with the wind at their backs.
Offaly began to mount a comeback and two points from Bernard Allen brought them back level.
John Maughan’s men were proving wasteful though as they went through a purple patch and they were punished as points from Oran Kenny and Dessie Reynolds put Longford back into the ascendency.
Both forward divisions spurned goal chances but the last say of the game was left to captain Niall Darby as he landed a superb effort to earn Offaly their first point of the league after a defeat to Cork last weekend.
Scorers for Offaly: B Allen (0-4, 3 frees); A Sullivan (0-3); R McNamee (0-2, 1 free); N Darby (0-1).
Scorers for Longford: D Gallagher (0-5, 1 free); D Reynolds and O Kenny (0-2 each), R Brady (0-1).
OFFALY: P Dunican; D Dempsey, E Rigney, C Doyle; E Carroll, D Hogan, N Darby; C Mangan, M Brazil; S Horan, R McNamee, J Hayes; B Allen, A Sullivan, C Johnson.
Subs: C McNamee for Johnson (33m), C Donohoe for Hayes (52m), C Donnelly for Sullivan (75m).
LONGFORD: P Collum; P Fox, A Farrell, B O’Farrell; I O’Sullivan, G Rogers, C P. Smyth; D Gallagher, K Diffley; M Quinn, D McElligott, D Reynolds; D Mimnagh, R Brady, O Kenny.
Subs: J Hagen for McElligott (62m), D Doherty for Kenny (65m), L Connerton for O’Sullivan (74m).
Referee: L Devenney (Mayo)