Ruari McNamee on the ball for Offaly against Wexford.
OFFALY senior footballers will have a great chance of making further progress when they welcome Wicklow to Tullamore on Saturday for the second round of the Tailteann Cup.
Offaly were very relieved to beat Wexford in the first round last Sunday. They lived dangerously and mixed the good with the bad but did just enough to win.
It opens up a chance to rescue something from their season and Offaly did show a decent level of interest in this competition. While their football was nothing to get excited about, Offaly were up for it and they will improve after this.
Wicklow, however, represents a real banana skin for them and they will be vulnerable on Sunday. Wicklow's performances in the championship command complete respect this year. They destroyed Laois in the first round of the Leinster Senior Football Championship, winning by 5-15 to 4-12 and were not disgraced as Meath beat them by 4-13 to 1-12.
They beat Waterford well in the Tailteann Cup last weekend and it suggests that they will give Offaly a real run for their money. A Wicklow win would only be a mild surprise but they were in Division 4 of the National Football League this year while Offaly were in Division 2. It does suggest that Offaly are at a higher level and the home side may begin to play with more freedom now that they have a win under their belt and have gained revenge against Wexford.
Offaly's attack looked more dangerous than they did in the championship defeat by Wexford. They welcome back Niall McNamee, Ruari McNamee and Jack Bryant. They would not have won on Sunday without Niall McNamee while Ruari McNamee got on a lot of ball and Jack Bryant was just back after a long lay off – the game will bring him on and supporters would like to see a more attack minded approach against Wicklow.
Offaly will be pushed hard but they should be good enough to win.
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