OFFALY have made three changes in personnel ahead of this Sunday’s (April 7th) crunch winner takes all Allianz Football League Division 4 final round clash against Tipperary in O’Connor Park, Tullamore which throws in at 3pm.
David Hanlon (Edenderry), Ruairi Allen (Gracefield) and Joe Maher (Ferbane) who were in the starting fifteen for the 2-15 to 1-11 round six victory over Waterford at Carriganore on Sunday week last, March 24th, have been omitted by manager Emmet McDonnell and selectors Paul Mollen and Gordon McDonnell.
And into the side for Sunday comes Rhode’s Niall Darby, Edenderry’s Richie Dalton and team captain Niall McNamee, all three of whom were introduced as substitutes during the victory over Niall Carew’s Waterford charges.
Dalton has been selected at mid-field alongside Alan McNamee, while Niall McNamee will occupy the full forward berth and he will be flanked by Niall Darby and Ken Casey, who scored eight points in the win over Waterford – it was the first time the St Brigid’s club man started an Allianz Football League game in 2013.
Following victories over Leitrim (0-9 to 0-8 on March 10th in Carrick on Shannon), Carlow (2-11 to 1-11 on March 16th in Tullamore) and Waterford (2-15 to 1-11 on March 24th in Carriganore), Offaly will be seeking their fourth consecutive win in Division 4 (fifth in all of the campaign) and should they prevail they will secure promotion to Division 3 and a place in the Division 4 Final.
Offaly haven’t beaten Tipperary in the two most recent Allianz Football League encounters between the counties. In 2012 at Clonmel, the already relegated ‘Premier’ men won by 0-11 to 0-8 and that reversal meant Offaly followed them down to Division 4. While in 2011 at O’Connor Park, Tipp also shaded the verdict by 1-11 to 0-13.
The battle for promotion couldn’t be any more exciting with four counties fighting it out for the two precious places on offer.
Top of the table Limerick (10 points, For 1-59 Against 2-55; Diff +1) face Clare (8 points, For 4-74 Against 6-52; Diff +16) on Sunday, while Tipp lie in second place (8 points, For 5-80 Against 4-62; Diff +21) edging out Offaly (8 points, For 8-61 Against 3-60; Diff +16) in third because of their superior score difference.
The permutations are many and should two teams end up with the same number of points the outcome of the game between those counties will separate them. If more than two teams end up with the same number of points score difference will be used and if score difference happens to be equal then highest total for scored would come into the equation.
The Offaly team to face Tipperary is;
1 Alan Mulhall (Walsh Island)
2 Paul McConway (Tullamore)
3 Sean Pender (Edenderry)
4 Shane Sullivan (Rhode)
5 Eoin Carroll (Cappincur)
6 Brian Darby (Rhode)
7 Michael Brazil (Tullamore)
8 Alan McNamee (Rhode)
9 Richie Dalton (Edenderry)
10 Graham Guilfoyle (Clara)
11 Brian Connor (Walsh Island)
12 Willie Mulhall (Walsh Island)
13 Niall Darby (Rhode)
14 Niall McNamee (captain) (Rhode)
15 Ken Casey (St Brigid’s)