London exit All-Ireland Championship at the hands of Offaly

London exit All-Ireland Championship at the hands of Offaly

Offaly 0-17

London 1-7

All-Ireland SFC Qualifier Round 1

FOR much of the first half, London were able to harbour dreams of a historic victory on the road but it was not long before reality dawned and the same old story emerged as they were well beaten by Offaly in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship qualifiers in Tullamore on Saturday.

Ultimately, a seven point defeat was not a bad result and London gave a brave and battling performance but at the same time, victory was not even a remote possibility once Offaly found their feet in the second-half, and this was a comprehensive defeat for the visitors.

Playing with the wind on their backs in the first half, London carried the game to their once famous opponents.

They were assisted by some very poor football from Offaly in the opening 25 minutes but London were well up for it and they played with great intensity.

A punched goal from Patrick O’Hara in the 15th minute gave London a 1-1 to 0-2 lead and they pushed on impressively from here.

Adrian Moyles (free), Liam Gavaghan and O’Hara added points to put them up 1-4 to 0-2 after 22 minutes and there were enough warning signals for Offaly to be worried.

Unfortunately for London, that represented the pinnacle of the game for them and it was eight minutes from time before they managed to score again.

Before half time, Offaly had steadied the ship and points from Nigel Dunne (three, one free), Bernard Allen (free) and Anton Sullivan, who really should have goaled from ten yards, ensured that they went in at half-time on level terms, 0-7 to 1-4.

Offaly duly put them to the sword in the second half. London continued to try hard but there was much more pace and purpose about Offaly as they consistently opened up the Exiles.

They scored eight points without reply to lead by 0-15 to 1-4 as the game entered its closing ten minutes.

By that stage, London’s mission was a damage limitation one and there was 62 minutes on the clock when they got their first point of the second-half from substitute Eoin Mageean.

That was London’s first score since the 22nd minute and you really can’t go 40 minutes without scoring at this level and expect to win.

In the closing ten minutes, London competed much better and only for some poor wides, they could have been a lot closer. Scott Conroy (free) and sub, Dualtach Molloy got late points for them while Offaly replied through Berrnard Allen and Niall Darby.

Overall, it was a satisfactory display by London and they competed well for much of the seventy minutes. In particular, they will have been delighted not to concede a goal, even though Offaly did have a couple of good chances that they were unable to convert.

Offaly, still smarting from losing a Leinster quarter-final to Westmeath that was there for the taking, will not be happy with their overall performance, but London did as well as could be expected of them.

Exiles manager Ciaran Deely, who missed the ceremony of his brother’s wedding to oversee the game, was happy with his side’s first-half showing at least.

“We started the game really well and at one stage we were four points up,” he told The Irish Post.

“We were set up quite well and stopped them getting through us, picking off some great scores.

“PP O’Hara and Scott Conroy did very, very well. But unfortunately for the last 10 minutes of the first half we allowed them back into it, with some of our passes into the forwards going astray.

“We had a couple of chances at the beginning of the second-half and if we’d have taken them we would have been in with a real chance, but we were playing against a very strong breeze by that stage.

“All-in-all it was a good performance, we were just a bit unlucky.”


Offaly: A Mulhall; B Darby, E Rigney, S Pender; N Darby (0-1), P Cunningham, J O'Connor; E Carroll, G Guilfoyle; A Sullivan (0-1), N McNamee (0-4), M Brazil; B Allen (0-3, 1f), N Dunne (0-7, 4f), J Moloney. Subs: N Bracken (0-1) for Moloney (43m), J Getehings for Guilfoyle (53m), W Mulhall for McNamee (58m), J Lalor for B Darby (61m), K Garry for A Mulhall (64m), L Fox for Carroll (66m).

London: G McEvoy; P Butler, C Carty, C Dunne; D Ryan, C Healy, D McGreevy; J Moran, L Gavaghan (0-1); A Moyles (0-1, f), M Gottsche (0-1, f), C Coyne; S Conroy (0-1, f), C Og Greene, P O'Hara (1-1). Subs: E Murray for Moran, inj. (48m), K Butler for Coyne (52m), C Dunne for Healy (61m), E Mageean (0-1) for Greene (61m), C O'Neill for Ryan (64m), D Molloy (0-1) for O'Hara (67m).

Referee: David Coldrick (Meath)