Offaly’s hopes of making an immediate return to Division 3 took a major blow on Sunday as they were beaten at home by Clare.
Allianz Football League Division 4
Despite goals in either half from Niall McNamee and Brian Darby, Offaly were deservedly on the wrong end of the scoreline against a Clare side who rallied late to claim the win.
Darby’ goal put Offaly a point in front entering the final quarter but Clare outscored their hosts by by four points to one in the closing minutes with Offaly’s score coming late from the boot of Richie Dalton.
Inaccuracy again plagued Offaly as they kicked 11 wides and when you consider that the starting forward line contributed just 1-2, it becoming apparent where the problems lie. Goalkeeper Alan Mulhall and corner back Brian Darby accounted for 1-1, almost as much as the forward while the other points came from midfield.
Offaly now face an uphill battle to gain promotion after losing back to back home games and they simply cannot afford to lose to Leitrim next week if they are to keep their slim hopes alive.
Clare started the game much more strongly than Offaly and four points from the excellent David Tubridy and one from Alan Clohessy helped Clare into a 0-5 to 0-2 lead with Offaly’s points coming from Niall McNamee goalkeeper Alan Mulhall.
Offaly hit back with an excellently taken goal from Niall McNamee to level the scores but Clare pulled away again before the break with points from Chris Dunning, Shane McGrath and Enda Coughlan.
Offaly manager Emmett McDonnell did his best to change the momentum of the game introducing three subs in the first-half and a fourth at the break.
Clare extended their lead early in the second half but Offaly seemed to have found their stride hitting an unanswered 1-2 to take the lead.
Points from Ross Brady and Brian Connor reduced the arrears to two before Brian Darby marauded forward to get on the end of a fine attacking move and he dispatched the ball to the back of the net.
That put Offaly ahead with 16 minutes to go and the momentum appeared to be on their side however Clare under manager Mick O’Dwyer came back well and added four points to just one for Offaly in the closing minutes to seal their second win of the campaign
Offaly: Alan Mulhall 0-1f; Brian Darby 1-0, Paul McConway, Eoin Rigney; Graham Guilfoyle, John Moloney, Michael Brazil; Ross Brady 0-1f, Alan McNamee; Matthew Mitchell, Brian Connor 0-1, Eoin Carroll; Bernard Allen, Niall McNamee 1-1, Peter Cunningham. Subs.: Sean Pender for E Rigney (25 mins), Paul McPadden for P Cunningham (29 mins), Derek Kelly for M Mitchell (33 mins), Richie Dalton 0-1 for B Allen (half time), Joe Maher for P McPadden (blood sub 56 -59 mins), Mark Young for A McNamee (63 mins). . Clare: Joe Hayes; Martin McMahon, Shane McNelis, Enda Coughlan 0-1; Sean Haugh, Gordon Kelly, Declan Callinan; Gary Brennan 0-1, Cathal O’Connor; Chris Dunning 0-1, Shane McGrath 0-2, Alan Clohessy 0-1; Mark McCarthy, Rory Donnelly, David Tubridy 0-6 (0-1f, 0-1 ’45). Subs.: Podge McMahon for R Donnelly (53 mins), Shane Ryan 0-1 for A Clohessy inj (55 mins).