Offaly went into last Sunday’s clash with Sligo knowing a win would leave their destiny in their own hands going into their last game with already relegated Tipperary.
Unfortunately the result did not go Offaly’s way and now they are relying on Antrim to do them a favour against Cavan if they are to have any chance of avoiding the drop.
Speaking after his side’s fifth defeat in six games, manager Gerry Cooney said he was disappointed with the result and the fact that Offaly no longer controlled their own fate.
“It was disappointing. I think we were seven points down at half-time with a strong breeze to come but .you really have to work hard. We could have gotten a goal at the start of the second-half that might have changed things. We did get a goal and got back into it be we just struggled in the middle of the half. There was three or four points in it for about ten minutes but we couldn’t get past that. We finished strong but overall it was disappointing. It was an important game today and it’s out of our hands now. Before today it was in our hands so that’s disappointing.”
Offaly went to half-time seven points adrift and trailed by as many as eight but a goal from Bernard Allen helped them reduce the gap to four. Gerry Cooney was pleased that his side managed to get back into the game but he lamented the fact that they didn’t take advantage when they had the momentum.
“We got it down to four points but found it very hard to get past that. We had a lot of possession but we needed to get it back to two and we just didn’t finish when we had a couple of opportunities. Then they broke down the field and got a couple of points. That was the disappointing aspect of it today. It was well within our control. Despite going in at half-time seven points down it was still possible to turn it around.”
Offaly started the game well but the manager pointed to a couple of areas where a better performance from his side might have helped change the outcome.
“I thought the first 20 minutes we more than held our own against the breeze. We took good options but we just panicked a little bit. Their goal came from a long ball in over the top. We might have defended it a little bit better. We conceded a lot of frees and we scored very little from frees. When you analyse a two point game you can see some areas that we need to improve on.”
Offaly’s last game is a must win encounter against Tipperary and Offaly also need Antrim to beat Cavan. While Gerry Cooney is hoping Antrim help his side out, his focus is on Tipperary.
“I was in Thurles and saw a very good Tipperary team draw with Longford and they should have beaten them to be fair. They were the better team I thought on the night. No doubt it’s going to be a big ask. We hope Antrim can do us a favour but it’s not a great position to be in but at the same time we can still stay in Division 3.”
On a weekend where St Mary’s, Ednederry and Gallen CS qualified for All Ireland Finals, Gerry Cooney praised the work being done at underage level in the county
“There’s a terrific crop of young players coming through and there’s a lot of good work being done in the schools and at underage. I think the minor team will be a very strong team this year as well with John Ryan so there’s certainly a lot to build on for the future and there’s a lot of good things happening behind the scenes.”