Offaly 1-16 Carlow 2-14
Carlow will remain in Division 1 for 2020 after they came back from 11 points down to defeat Offaly at Tullamore on Sunday. This was a very poor second half display from Offaly, considering Carlow were 11 points down and had 14 men, but all the credit is for Colm Bonnar’s charges.
Carlow played into the strong Tullamore breeze in the opening half. That decision quickly back fired as Offaly stormed into the game with Joe Bergin hitting a brace, Kevin Connolly pointing before Bergin raised a green flag on 8 minutes. Shane Kinsella delivered a ball in to the box which Bergin got on the end of to give Treacy no chance in the goal. Offaly piled on the pressure and the pressure told when Carlow were reduced to 14 men. Niall Houlihan dragged down Eddie Byrne, who indeed retaliated by hitting the full back with the hurl , Wicklow referee John Keenan was left with no option but to brandish a red card. Chris Nolan finally got Carlow’s first score after 13 minutes, but Shane Kinsella pushed the gap to 8 points with a nice score a minute later, it was 1-06 to 0-01 after 14 minutes. Offaly had Carlow on the ropes to be fair, but they didn’t capitalise. Kevin Dunne and Shane Kinsella pointed, before Chris Nolan hit a brace of points with the half hour mark approaching. It was 1-11 to 0-03 at the break, many would have gave Carlow no chance.
Carlow wasted little or no time in eating into the Offaly lead. They won a free from the throw in, they tested the Offaly defence with long deliveries into the full back line. These long balls would prove to be Offaly’s downfall with the defence letting the ball hit the ground twice in different situation, on both occasions Carlow netted goals, with Seamus Murphy kicking to the net and Chris Nolan adding the second. Marty Kavanagh hit two points and the gap was down to two, Offaly were getting nervy and were for the taking now. The Carlow half back line were dominant Richie Coady and Dave English superb.
Carlow eventually took the lead and when they did they weren’t going to be beaten. The leading score came from an Offaly mistake from Dermott Shortt, Sean Whelan gathered possession and was fouled for the resulting free to be put between the posts. Carlow 2-13 Offaly 1-15 with 67 minutes played. John Michael Nolan and Joe Bergin traded points, but Carlow held on to claim a massive win.
Carlow: Brian Tracey; Michael Doyle, Paul Doyle, Alan Corcoran; Kevin McDonald, David English, Richard Coady; Jack Kavanagh, Seán Whelan; Seamus Murphy (1-01), Martin Kavanagh (0-08, 0-04 frees), John Michael Nolan (0-01); Chris Nolan (1-04), Eddie Byrne, James Doyle.
Subs used: Jack Murphy for J Kavanagh (34), Ted Joyce for J Doyle (60), Jon Nolan for J Murphy (66)
Offaly: Eoghan Cahill (0-01, free); Paddy Rigney, Niall Houlihan, Ben Conneely; Damien Egan, Pat Camon, Aidan Treacy; Shane Kinsella(0-02), Colm Gath; Kevin Dunne (0-01), Sean Dolan, Colin Egan; Shane Dooley (0-03), Joe Bergin (1-07, 0-04 frees, 0-01 ’65), Kevin Connolly (0-02).
Subs used: Andy Flynn for Houlihan (8), Conor Langton for Connolly (56), M Egan for Gath (70), C Taylor for Conneely (70).
Referee: John Keenan (Wicklow)