Pressure on Offaly ahead of Antrim trip

IT is not quite last chance saloon for the Offaly Senior Footballers as they travel to take on Antrim in Casement Park this Saturday but the stark reality is that another defeat would leave them staring down the barrel of relegation.

IT is not quite last chance saloon for the Offaly Senior Footballers as they travel to take on Antrim in Casement Park this Saturday but the stark reality is that another defeat would leave them staring down the barrel of relegation.

In their opening defeats against Roscommon and Longford, Offaly wilted badly in the final quarter handing the game to their opponents and severly denting their score difference in the process. Since then manager Gerry Cooney has added more physical strength to his side bringing Brian Connor and the vastly experienced Alan McNamee back into the panel which also gives him more options in midfield.

Offaly have had three weeks to lick their wounds since the Roscommon game and the hope is the weeks of training along with some challenge matches in the interim will have improved the fitness levels and the standard of play.

A win over Wicklow in a challenge was followed last weekend by an encouraging result, and more importantly an encouraging performance, against Laois. Those wins came without the U-21s who have a big game of their own against Meath.

There is no doubt that Offaly will need to be right on their game against an Antrim side who are riding high after opening their campaign with back to back wins at home to Sligo and away to Tipperary. Both victories were by comparitively narrow margins but it is enough to see them joint top the group.

A good start is always important but whatever the result, it is absolutely paramount that Offaly show they can play for the full 70 minutes. This side is far better than their two opening results suggest but now they must produce it on the field of risk of dropping deeper into a relegation dogfight with Cavan and Tipperary.