Offaly will face a final relegation play-off game with either Carlow or Kerry to avoid dropping down to the third tier of league hurling after losing to Antrim in Ballycastle last Sunday
Allianz NHL Division 1B Relegation Play-Off
It all looked good for Offaly after 25 minutes as they had built an eight point lead thanks to a Stephen Quirke goal but the home side rallied late in the half scoring 1-4 unanswered to get back within three.
The second-half was all Antrim as Offaly managed just three points while their hosts added another ten to their total to run out four point winners.
Midfielder Paul Shiels was the driving force behind the Antrim performance scoring nine points in total in the game.
Offaly got off to the perfect start in the windy conditions, with Stephen Quirke firing to the net after just five minutes.
By the quarter hour mark, all six of Offaly’s forwards have scored and they were 1-7 to 0-4 to the good. Two Joe Bergin frees had Offaly cruising with an eight point lead but 1-4 without reply from Antrim, with the goal coming from Carson closed the gap to one. Two Brian Carroll points gave Offaly breathing space but within six minutes of the restart, the sides were level.
It was tit for tat up to the final 15 minutes but Antrim finished far stronger outscoring Offaly by five points to one in the closing minutes.
Antrim: C O’Connell; Ciaran Johnson, C McKinley, O McFadden; E Campbell (0-2), N McAuley, P Shiels (0-9, 0-4f, 0-1 ‘65’); D Hamill, C McCann; C Carson (1-1), M Donnelly, S McAfee; N McManus (0-3, 0-1f), PJ O’Connell (0-3), Conor Johnson. Subs used: B McFall for McAfee, N McKenna for McCann, C Clarke for Donnelly, D McKernan for Conor Johnson, J McGreevy for Clarke.
Offaly: J Dempsey; N Wynne, G Healion, J Rigney; C Parlon, C Egan, C McDonald; K Brady, T Geraghty; J Bergin (0-5, 0-4f), C Mahon (0-1), S Dooley (0-1); B Carroll (0-3), D Currams (0-2), S Quirke (1-2). Subs used: S Cleary for Brady, K Connolly for Carroll
Referee: James Owens (Wexford)