FOR the second year in a row Offaly will have a showdown with Tipperary in their final game of the league after Emmet McDonnell’s side saw off the challenge of Waterford in Carriganore on Sunday.
Allianz NFL Division 4
Last year Offaly went into their final game in Division 3 against an already relegated Tipperary needing a win to avoid following the Premier County into Division 4.
Ultimately Offaly lost that game in Clonmel which saw them drop to the bottom tier but on Sunday week in Tullamore they will have the chance for revenge as the winner of the game will secure promotion to Division 3 and a place in the league final with a draw being enough for Tipperary.
After a shaky start, Offaly have now put three wins back to back and their latest victory away to a spirited Waterford side was again thanks to late goals with Brian Connor and Graham Guilfoyle finding the back of the net.
After trailing by three points early in the game Offaly were in front by a point at half-time having played into the wind.
Waterford led by 0-5 to 0-2 early in the game with Offaly’s scores coming from Ken Casey who was making his first start of the year after returning from injury late in the game against Carlow as a sub.
Alan McNamee and Casey again added points for Offaly but Waterford matched those scores to maintain their three point advantage.
However Offaly were soon back on terms with two more points for Casey and one from Graham Guilfoyle drawing them level.
Wateford edged back in front again but Casey and Guilfoyle again found the target to leave Offaly 0-9 to 0-8 ahead at the break.
Six minutes after the restart Offaly had increased the lead to two with Willie Mulhall and Ken Casey on targer but Waterford hit back with an opportunist goal from Liam O’Lonain to retake the lead.
Offaly however kept their composure and two more Casey points and one from Niall McNamee left them two points ahead again midway through the second-half.
A battling Waterford side were proving difficult to shake off and two points from Gary Nurney levelled the scores again entering the final ten minutes.
With the game in the balance, Offaly repeated their trick of the previous week against Carlow as they scored 2-1 late in the game to secure the crucial win.
For the second week in a row Brian Connor found the back of the net with the second goal coming from Graham Guilfoyle. Niall McNamee slotted over the final point to set up the showdown with Tipperary on April 7. . Scorers Offaly: Ken Casey 0-8 (0-4 frees), Graham Guilfoyle 1-3, Brian Connor 1-0, Niall McNamee 0-2, Alan McNamee 0-1, Willie Mulhall 0-1. Waterford: Gary Hurney 0-5 (0-1 free), Liam O’Lonáin 1-0, Tony Grey 0-3, Tommy Prendergast 0-1, David Hallahan 0-1, Robert Aherne 0-1.
OFFALY: Alan Mulhall (capt.); Shane Sullivan, Paul McConway, Brian Darby; David Hanlon, Sean Pender, Michael Brazil; Alan McNamee, Brian Connor; Eoin Carroll, Graham Guilfoyle, Ruairi Allen; Joe Maher, Ken Casey, Willie Mulhall. Subs: Niall Darby for J Maher (13 mins), Niall McNamee for D Hanlon (half time), Ross Brady for R Allen (50 mins), Derek Kelly for W Mulhall (62 mins), Richie Dalton for R Brady (71 mins).
WATERFORD: Stephen Enright; Tadhg Ó hUallacháin, Maurice O’Gorman, Conor Phelan; Liam O’Lonáin, John Hurney, Andy Doyle; Gary Hurney (Capt.), Tommy Prendergast; Paul Whyte, David Hallahan, Brian Wall; Tony Grey, Robert Aherne, Darren Guiry. Subs: John Wall for P Whyte (15 mins) (inj), Stephen Prendergast for M O’Gorman (66 mins) (inj).
. Referee: Anthony Nolan (Wicklow).