Limerick's late surge earns Division 4 title
Updated: Saturday, 27 Apr 2013 20:08
Limerick’s late surge saw they lift the Allianz Football League Division 4 title at Croke Park.
A Ross Brady goal helped Offaly open out a six-points lead, but five Ian Ryan points led Limerick’s fightback, with Iain Corbett bringing them level, 0-8 to 1-05, at the interval.
Offaly led for much of the game, but kicked 15 wides, and paid the price as substitutes Derry O’Connor and Seamus O’Carroll nailed the scores which clinched it for the Treaty men.
One sour note for Maurice Horan’s side was another injury for midfielder John Galvin, forced out of the action late in the game, and now a doubt for the Munster Championship opener.
Brady’s 12th-minute goal gave Offaly a platform to go six points clear. They had already displayed their intent with scores from Ken Casey (0-02) and corner back Brian Darby.
The strong, penetrative running of centre forward Brian Connor gave them an extra dimension as they strode into a 1-04 to 0-01 lead.
An uncharacteristic mistake by Stephen Lucey, who was dispossessed by Niall McNamee 50 metres out, left Limerick short of cover, and the Faithful exploited the space with pace and vision, Casey providing the pass for the inrushing Brady to collect and plant a low shot in the corner of Donal O’Sullivan’s net.
A superb McNamee score was followed by another goal chance, but this time O’Sullivan saved from Graham Guilfoyle.
But Limerick regrouped, and John Galvin and Bobby O’Brien began to garner possession around the middle.
Ian Ryan steered over four frees and landed a wonderful point from play as they clawed their way back, and it was Stephen Lavin who brought the sides level, 0-08 to 1-05 at the break.
Lucey pushed Limerick in front for the first time immediately after the restart, but the lead lasted less than a minute, thanks to the class and elegance of full-forward McNamee, who steered over two delightful scores from play.
The Treaty men were forced on to the back foot for sustained spells, but remained in touch thanks to their opponents’ failure to convert clever approach play into scores.
They went back level for the fourth time through John Riordan, but two thunderous Connor points tipped the balance in favour of the Faithful once again.
But it was the Munster men who displayed hunger and courage, hitting five of the game’s last six scores.
Two from substitute Derry O’Connor gave them the belief that they could complete the comeback, and after Eoghan O’Connor had hit the equaliser, another sub, Seamus O’Carroll, sealed it with a ’45.
Limerick: D O’Sullivan, L O’Dwyer, P Browne, M O’Riordan, S Lavin (0-02), S Lucey (0-01), P Ranahan, P O’Brien, J Galvin, J Riordan (0-01), T Lee (0-01), S Buckley (0-01), E O’Connor (0-01), I Corbett (0-01), I Ryan (0-05 (4f)).
Subs: D O’Connor (0-02) for Lee, M Sheehan for Lucey, S O’Carroll (0-01) for Galvin, D Treacy for Ryan, J O’Meara for Corbett
Offaly: A Mulhall, P McConway, S Pender, B Darby, E Carroll, R Brady (1-00), M Brazil, A McNamee (0-04), R Dalton, G Guilfoyle, B Connor (0-02), A Sullivan, N Darby (0-01), N McNamee, K Casey (0-04 (1f)).
Subs: J Moloney for A McNamee, W Mulhall for Sullivan
Referee: C Branagan (Down).