OFFALY'S prospects of promotion from Division 3 of the National Football League have received a big boost after they received a home draw for their semi-final against Fermanagh today.
The draw was made by the Croke Park Competitions Control Committee and manager John Maughan will be delighted that Offaly have the game in Tullamore rather than facing a trip to Enniskillen.
There was also a sense of justice about the draw as Offaly topped Division 3 South and Fermanagh were runners-up in Division 3 North . There should have been a reward for the teams who topped their group against the runners up in the other one but it is immaterial now. If a team who had played two home games in the group stages was scheduled to play a county who had one, the game would have been played at the venue of the team with one home game – both Offaly and Fermanagh had two of their games at home, resulting in them drawing for venue.
Home venue certainly increases Offaly's prospects of promotion – there is a big difference between having this in Tullamore and the logistics of an early morning trip to Enniskillen. Apart from that, supporters are also allowed at games in the six counties and would also have been a factor.
Offaly have had an excellent campaign so far. They followed up earlier wins over Wicklow and Limerick with a fine 1-17 to 1-12 win over Tipperary last Saturday to secure their semi-final berth.
It was Offaly's best display during John Maughan's three year reign as manager and they finished powerfully to get the result.
It all gives Offaly a great chance of promotion to Division 2. The groups format was kind to Offaly. Because of Covid-19, the league divisions were split and Offaly were placed in the weaker Division 3 south – Derry, Fermanagh, Cavan and Longford were in the north division.
Offaly have taken full advantage by winning their three games and now face a promotion battle against Fermanagh. With the winners of this going up, Offaly have a golden chance of moving up a division – Fermanagh command full respect and have a lot going for them, but on home turf, Offaly have to fancy their odds.
The semi-final will be played on the weekend of June 12/13 and the fixture will be finalised later.
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