Offaly captain says team played 'pure football' in Antrim win
Offaly captain Anton Sullivan has told the Offaly Express that the county's senior footballers got their "just reward" in a 2-20 to 1-15 win over Antrim in the first round of the All-Ireland qualifiers on Saturday evening, June 9.
"It was great to get the win on Saturday evening and there was a wonderful buzz around Tullamore. It was really important we got the win and I’m very proud of all the lads for the effort they have put in since the Wicklow defeat. We got our just reward on Saturday," the Rhode man commented.
Speaking about the performance, during which Offaly scored 2-15 from open play, Anton said, "We worked immensely hard for one another and we played pure football. 2-20 was a fantastic score to kick and a lot of those scores were spread throughout the team which was great to see."
2,000 people turned out in Bord na Mona O'Connor Park on Saturday evening to witness Paul Rouse's first game in temporary charge, and the Offaly skipper noticed the vocal nature of the supporters.
"The support was great to hear, it really gives you a lift. Even going in at half-time and the crowd cheering you on, it really helps," Anton said.
"Hopefully we can get out in more numbers the next day and drive it on again. We all want the same thing for Offaly to do well so let’s row in the one direction," he added.
Offaly enjoyed some celebrations on Saturday evening but by Sunday morning, they were back out putting in the hard yards running on the Grand Canal.
Anton Sullivan said the panel have enjoyed the work under Paul Rouse and his selectors John Rouse, Alan McNamee and Stephen Darby in the three weeks since their appointment and it's all eyes on round 2 already.
Speaking after Monday's draw pitted Offaly against Clare, Sullivan told us that they are looking forward to the tie back in O'Connor Park on the weekend of June 23/24.
"Clare in Round 2 of the qualifiers will be a difficult task. They are playing in a higher division than Offaly so they will be a well drilled and organised outfit. It's a task we will relish, though, and look forward to."
"Game 1 is closed now, onto game 2 and we will not look beyond that. One game at a time," Anton remarked with focus. "I’m hoping we can put in another hard-working performance that when we leave the field after 70 minutes, we know we have done the best we can," he concluded.
If you have a story for us, sports news, an event happening in your area, or if you want to submit pictures or videos, contact the Offaly Express team via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or through our Facebook.