Leitrim scored their first win of the Fr Manning Cup campaign last Thursday night in Annaduff when they proved too strong for a less than impressive Offaly and racked up a massive total of 1-17.
Leitrim 1-17 Offaly 2-9
Apart from a few brief spells, Leitrim dominated this encounter with some ease and incredible as it may seem with 18 scores registered over the hours, it could have been so much more had Leitrim been a good deal more clinical in front of the posts.
Yet it took a penalty save from Jason Farry in injury time to ensure the five point victory Leitrim so richly deserved as Offaly staged a late rally that caused Leitrim some difficulties.
Leitrim were dominant in the middle of the field where Mark Plunkett and Dean McGovern ruled the roost while Evan Ward, Luke Murphy & Francis McNabola did a good deal of damage upfront. In defence, Liam Ryan again impressed but Leitrim will be worried that they conceded 2-9 to an Offaly team working off scraps.
It is hard to know just where the U-16s stand – this was a vastly improved display from their previous outing but it has to be said that Offaly were nowhere near the class of Roscommon. Their forwards did cause a lot of problems and that is a cause for concern.
With Leitrim kicking bad wides, Offaly got off to a good start with points from Jamie Evans & Alan Geoghegan but after Oisin Madden had a goal bound shot blocked, Leitrim took off with four unanswered points from Mark Plunkett, Gerard McDermott, Madden and Plunkett.
The sides swapped two points apiece from Evans & Shane Dolan for Offaly and Plunkett and Luke Murphy replying. Ruairi McNamee fisted over with a goal on with five minutes of the half left to leave just two points between the teams.
But Leitrim finished the half with two Plunkett scores and one each from Murphy and McNabola to leave them 0-11 to 0-5 ahead at the break. Any chance Offaly had was quickly wiped out with two McNabola points and a cracking Murphy goal from a tight angle in the first five minutes.
Offaly hit back with a great Evans goal but points from Conor Gaffney and Madden almost wiped out the score. Offaly pulled back points from Dolan and Evans with Plunkett replying as Leitrim held a nine point advantage with seven minutes to go.
An off-balance and somewhat fortunate Ryan Daly goal lifted Offaly and although the home side tried to hit back, Offaly sub keeper Mark Condron made three great saves to deny Murphy and Dean McGovern certain goals.
Conor Gaffney did add a point but Offaly had two from Evans and Dolan but Jason Farry ensured a more accurate reflection of the score line when he saved Paddy Dunigan’s spot-kick, awarded for a foot-block.
Leitrim: Jason Farry, James Mitchell, David Mulvey, Jerome Maguire, Gerard McDermott (0-1), Liam Ryan, Shane McGowan, Dean McGovern, Mark Plunkett (0-6), Francis McNabola (0-3), Conor Gaffney (0-3), Oisin Madden (0-2), Gary Fowley, Evan Ward, Luke Murphy (1-2). Subs: Philip Dolan for McDermott (28 mins), Hugh Moylan for Mulvey (49 mins), Keith Keegan & Cathal McTiernan for Madden & McNabola (56 mins).
Offaly: Cian Brereton, Evan Galvin, Ryan Havell, Dale Sheridan, Mark Garry, Christian Brazil, Tristan Lawlor, Ryan Daly (1-0), James Lawlor, Alan Geoghegan (0-1), Jamie Evans (1-4), Glen Mooney, Shane Dolan (0-3), Paddy Dunigan, Ruairi McNamee (0-1). Subs: Mark Condron for Brereton (HT), Gavin Mulleady for Garry (37 mins), Mark McNally for Mooney (40 mins), Kevin Byrne for Lawlor (50 mins), Sean Ferguson for Geoghegan (56 mins).
Referee: Johnny Hughes (Longford).