Offaly move into promotion contention with comfortable win over Leitrim
Offaly's hopes of gaining promotion from Division 3 of the Allianz National Football League took were boosted on Sunday when they outclassed the home side in the second half in Avantcard Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada in Carrick on Shannon.
Leitrim led 0-9 to 0-8 at the halftime break after an entertaining and evenly matched first half that saw both attacks cause the opposition defences real problems.
But Offaly grabbed the first two points of the second period and the initiative before the game changed drastically in a three minute spell.
First came a straight red card for Leitrim sweeper Shane Quinn after an incident where the Mohill man was awarded a free but then got involved in what seemed like an innocuous enough incident. Antrim referee Sean Laverty brandished a red card to reduce Leitrim to 14 players.
The home team didn't seem as if they had regained their shape when Offaly struck for their first goal. A free from Offaly keeper Paddy Dunican came off the upright with Ruairi McNamee reacting quickest to jump in, make the catch and then his short pass found Bernard Allen who hammered home from close range.
A second goal goal with 14 minutes left killed off the contest. Offaly broke clear and a pass across the goal was palmed to the net by an unmarked Cathal Mangan to seal the win.
Leitrim did have a few goal chances - Keith Beirne had an effort in the first half blocked out for fifty and Ryan O'Rourke had a shot saved by Offaly's excellent keeper Dunican but the Offaly side's ability to answer Leitrim's effort meant they outscored the home team by 2-8 to 0-5 in the second half to seal a comprehensive win.
That victory moves Offaly on to five points after four games, level with Longford, Derry and Down. Cork lead the way with eight points with Tippeary on three, Leitrim on one and Louth yet to register.
Offaly host Down next weekend and a victory in O'Connor Park would put Offaly well on the road to promotion to Division 2.
READ A FULL REPORT AND REACTION IN THIS WEEK'S TULLAMORE AND MIDLAND TRIBUNES.