Niall McNamee slams 1-5 as Offaly secures entertaining Tailteann Cup win

IT ONLY GOES TO SHOW THE DIFFERENCE IT MAKES. Niall McNamee did not appear when Offaly sat out Leinster’s senior football championship against Wexford, and they suffered an upset defeat.

he 36-year-old returned to the Faithful fold at Bellefield this afternoon and scored 1-5, including the all-important 54th-minute strike that propelled John Maughan’s men to a thrilling one-point victory in this entertaining Cup preliminary Tailteann. round shock.

Victory, by the narrowest of margins, secures a home tie against Wicklow next Sunday, while Wexford’s year is over before we reach the end of May.

Shane Roche’s underdogs can still take a lot of credit, even in defeat, and two injury-time points from Kevin O’Grady and a free Donal Shanley kept them in the hunt until the end.

But Offaly retained possession on the ensuing onside kick and managed to keep the ball on defense until referee Maurice Deegan called time.

This Enniscorthy rematch came just a month after Wexford’s eye-popping Leinster championship victory, but the challenge of beating the Faithful twice in a row was amplified by the change in Offaly’s line-up.

Maughan made three late changes to his show team, and the introduction of talisman Niall McNamee and his cousin Ruairí McNamee, along with Keith O’Neill, meant he retained just seven of the squad that started on the final day.

By contrast, Roche had 11 survivors from that earlier clash at Wexford Park, but the loss of captain Martin O’Connor to a groin injury deprived the home team of a key defender.

However, at half-time, after braving the elements, the Wexford boss must have been very pleased to see his team losing only 1-7 to 1-5, and with every chance of moving on.

Even more impressive was how they bounced back from conceding an 11th-minute goal from Diarmuid Egan, whose rebound crashed off the bottom of the bar and just over the line, all after Darragh Brooks had saved Bill’s initial effort. Carroll.

But Wexford responded with a superbly crafted goal in the 16th minute, O’Grady and Michael Furlong combining for Dylan Furlong to sink an angled shot past Paddy Dunican.

That left the teams level, and despite Anton Sullivan and captain Johnny Moloney responding with good points, the home team continued to pester Offaly’s defense and came close to concocting two more goals shortly before half-time.

Crucially, however, Ben Brosnan’s effort was stifled by Dunican when he might have been better advised to pass inside, and then Glen Malone’s fist effort was cleared off the line by cornerback Lee Pearson.

And when Pearson scored a brilliant goal in the 39th minute, following some incisive approach work from the McNamee cousins, Offaly was leading by five and seemed to have regained the initiative.

Typical of this roller-coaster contest, however, Wexford were back within a point after 48 minutes when Eoghan Nolan’s speculative effort faded and he fell into goal, where Niall Hughes landed the all-important fist touch for the second. goal of his team.

When the same player signaled in the 52nd minute, the teams were tied at 2-10 apiece, but then Cian Donohoe set up McNamee’s clinically dispatched goal two minutes later. And ultimately, that turned out to be fair enough.

SCORERS

Remains: N McNamee 1-5 (3f, 1m), D Egan, L Pearson 1-0 each, A Sullivan 0-2, K O’Neill, J Moloney, B Carroll, N Darby (f) 0-1 each.

Wexford: N Hughes 1-1, D Furlong 1-0, B Brosnan 0-3 (1m, 1f), K O’Grady, E Nolan 0-2 each, G Malone, E Porter, D O’Toole, M Rossiter, D Shanley (w) 0-1 apiece.

TEAMS

OFFICERS – P. Duncan; Pearson L, Hogan D, Darby N; R Egan, J Moloney, C Donohoe; Carroll B, Hayes J; R McNamee, D Egan, A Sullivan; J Bryant, N McNamee, K O’Neill.

Substitutes: C Flynn for D Egan (ht), C McNamee for Bryant (48), M Abbott for R Egan (63), D Hyland for Sullivan (68), K Dolan for Pearson (inj 70).

WEXFORD- D streams; Furlong M, Porter E, Sheehan G; Hughes P, Malone G, Furlong D; L Coleman, N Hughes; D O’Toole, K O’Grady, A Tobin; S Ryan, E Nolan, B Brosnan.

Substitutes: D Shanley for Tobin (45), M Rossiter for Ryan (45), T Byrne for O’Toole (61), C Hughes for Brosnan (66), N Doyle for Nolan (68).

REF- M Deegan (Laos)

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