Offaly team to face London in league opener announced

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Offaly manager Emmet McDonnell has announced a young new-look team to face London in the opening round of the Allianz National Football League this Sunday, February 3rd at 2pm in Ruislip.

Offaly manager Emmet McDonnell has announced a young new-look team to face London in the opening round of the Allianz National Football League this Sunday, February 3rd at 2pm in Ruislip.

18-year-old Cappincur club man Eoin Carroll will make his NFL debut following his selection at left half forward. While Edenderry’s David Hanlon, chosen at right half back, will start a NFL game for the first time (he was introduced as a sub during last year’s Division 3 NFL 2-14 to 1-8 loss against Antrim in Casement Park).

Richie Dalton, who missed the recent Bord na Mona O’Byrne Cup semi-final loss against Kildare owing to hamstring injury, has been chosen at mid-field where he will partner Alan McNamee.

Offaly last faced London in the NFL exactly five years ago – on Sunday, February 3rd, 2008 – at O’Connor Park, Tullamore and on that occasion the ‘Faithful County’ triumphed by 5-16 to 1-6 with the goals being accounted for by John Reynolds (3), Pascal Kellaghan and Niall McNamee, who captains the side this year. Offaly later secured promotion and went on to win the Division 4 title, defeating Tipperary in the final.

McNamee along with his older brother Alan and their Rhode club mate Brian Darby are the only players selected to play on Sunday that featured in that 2008 victory over London. Tullamore’s Paul McConway also figured in the ’08 win and he is included among the subs for the trip to the English capital.

The Offaly side that will take to the field in Ruislip is much changed to the one that was defeated 2-15 to 0-8 in Pearse Park by Longford on the opening day of the Allianz NFL Division 3 twelve months ago.

Just four of the side that started against Longford in 2012 – Sean Pender, Brian Darby, Anton Sullivan & Alan Mulhall – are selected on the starting XV for Sunday. While three others – Paul McConway, Shane Sullivan & Bernard Allen – who started against Longford are on the subs bench for this opening assignment of the Division 4 campaign.

Eight of the team that went under to Longford – Kevin Meehan, James Gallagher, Lorcan Hiney, Brian Hanamy, Niall Smith, Aidan Keenaghan, Daniel Currams (who has opted to concentrate on hurling for 2013) and Nigel Dunne – don’t feature in the 30-man squad named for the London encounter.

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The team is ;

1 Alan Mulhall (Walsh Island)

2 Brian Darby (Rhode)

3 Eoin Rigney (Rhode)

4 Sean Pender (Edenderry)

5 David Hanlon (Edenderry)

6 Derek Kelly (Edenderry)

7 Graham Guilfoyle (Clara)

8 Alan McNamee (Rhode)

9 Richie Dalton (Edenderry)

10 Ross Brady (Clara)

11 Brian Connor (Walsh Island)

12 Eoin Carroll (Cappincur)

13 Matthew Mitchell (Clara)

14 Niall McNamee (Captain) (Rhode)

15 Anton Sullivan (Rhode)

SUBS;

16 Gavin Sheil (Killeigh)

17 Shane Sullivan (Rhode)

18 Keith McGuinness (Edenderry)

19 Paul McConway (Tullamore)

20 Paul McPadden (Rhode)

21 Mark Young (Edenderry)

22 Willie Mulhall (Walsh Island)

23 Peter Cunningham (Bracknagh)

24 Bernard Allen (Tubber)

25 John Moloney (Tullamore)

26 Joe Maher (Ferbane)

27 Ruairi Allen (Gracefield)

28 David Brady (Ballyfore)

29 Michael Verney (Birr)

30 James McPadden (Rhode)