Offaly’s league campaign ended on a winning note on Sunday in Casement Park against Antrim however Ollie Baker’s side but they had to battle all the way to the finish to overcome the home side.
Allianz NHL Division 1B
Antrim were ahead by four points with a quarter of the game to go but they failed to add to their total from there and Offaly gradually overhauled them to eek out the win.
That run of six unanswered points was crucial for Offaly as it saw them finish third in the table however it sends Antrim into the relegation play-off with Carlow.
The sides were level at the break at 0-11 apiece with Neil McManus and Shane Dooley providing the majority of the scores for their sides. McManus would eventually finish the game with 12 of Antrim’s 19 points while Dooley provided ten of Offaly’s 21.
They also hit the first 12 points of the game, six apiece, before James Mulrooney became only the third player to score in the game to put Offaly 0-7 to 0-6 up after 21 minutes.
McManus leveled the scores again with his seventh point but after Brian Carroll edged Offaly in front again, Antrim rolled off three points in a row to move two clear.
After both sides spurned goal opportunities, Ciaran Slevin tucked over two points to get Offaly back on terms at the interval.
The sides exchanged two points apiece early in the second-half but Antrim then pulled away with four points in succession and it was looking like the home side were on course for victory.
However Antrim didn’t score in the closing stages as points from Shane Dooley and two from Ciaran Slevin got Offaly back within one. Rory Hanniffy squared things up before points from Kevin Brady and Shane Dooley secured the win for Offaly.
Antrim: R McGarry; C McKinley, A Graffin, M McFadden; S McCrory (0-1), N McAuley, P Shiels (0-2); M Donnelly, J McGreevy; S Beatty, N McManus (0-12, 0-10f), E McCloskey (0-1); D McClean, C Carson, S McNaughton (0-1). Subs: T McCloskey (0-1) for M Donnelly, S McAfee (0-1) for D McClean. . Offaly: J Dempsey; C McDonald, D Kenny, P Cleary; P Camon, R Hanniffy (0-1), K Brady (0-1); C Slevin (0-7, 0-4f), B Carroll (0-1); C Egan, D Molloy, G Healion; S Dooley (0-10, 0-7f, 0-1 sl), J Mulrooney (0-1), T Carroll. Subs: C Parlon for T Carroll, O Kealey for D Molloy, S Ryan for P Camon.