HAVING lost their championship outing, Offaly gained a measure of revenge with a hard earned single point victory over Wexford in their Preliminary Round Tailteann Cup game at Bellefield.
Given the tight nature of their championship clash, Offaly with the McNamee brothers, Niall and Ruairí, back after injury, were slight favourites going into this game. And the experienced Niall stepped up to the mark with a brilliant third goal for his side with 17 minutes remaining, earning a 3-10 to 2-10 lead which Offaly refused to relinquish despite incessant late Wexford pressure.
Ben Brosnan, who hit 1-8 in the championship clash, took up where he left off with two early frees for Wexford.
But Offaly, enjoying the strong breeze, got a huge boost after just 12 minutes when midfielder Bill Carroll crashed an effort off the crossbar and the inrushing Diarmuid Egan converted the rebound.
Niall McNamee kicked a super 30-metre pointed free off the sideline, but Wexford got back level on 17 minutes when following a sweeping move wing-back Dylan Furlong crashed a superb shot across keeper Paddy Dunican into the corner of the net.
The hosts must have been happy going in at the break trailing by just two points, 1-7 to 1-5.
Early in the second half Dean O'Toole and Niall Darby, free, exchanged points, but it was Offaly who struck for a superb 39th-minute goal, Lee Pearson set up by an interchange of passes involving the McNamee brothers.
A Niall Hughes punched goal brought Wexford right back into contention — 2-10 each after 52 minutes.
But a minute later Niall McNamee cut inside full-back Eoin Porter before kicking an unstoppable shot across keeper Darragh Brooks.
The sides went on to exchange points through Eoghan Nolan and Anton Sullivan, and Wexford put in a strong finish, adding points through a long-range Kevin O'Grady effort and a free from Donal Shanley.
But the clock ran down leaving Offaly a relieved side on the final whistle.
N Hughes (1-1); B Brosnan (0-4, 0-2 frees); D Furlong (1-0); K O'Grady, E Nolan (0-2 each); D O'Toole, E Porter, G Malone, D Shanley (free) (0-1 each).
Scorers for Offaly: N McNamee (1-5, 0-3 frees, 0-1 mark); D Egan, L Pearson (1-0 each); A Sullivan, B Carroll (0-2 each); N Darby (free), K O'Neill (0-1 each)
D Brooks; G Sheehan, E Porter, M Furlong; P Hughes, G Malone, D Furlong; L Coleman, N Hughes; D O'Toole, K O'Grady, A Tobin; B Brosnan, E Nolan, S Ryan.
M Rossiter for Ryan (45); D Shanley (0-1 free) for Tobin (45); T Byrne for O'Toole (60); C Hughes for Brosnan (66); N Doyle for Nolan (68).
P Dunican; L Pearson, D Hogan, N Darby; C Donohoe, J Moloney, R Egan; B Carroll, J Hayes; R McNamee, D Egan, K O'Neill; J Bryant, N McNamee, A Sullivan).
C McEntee for Bryant (46), M Abbott for Egan (62).
M Deegan (Offaly).