Louth 0-12 Offaly 1-8
An injury-time miss by Vinny Claffey meant the game did not go into extra time after a thrilling finale in the All-Ireland qualifier in Navan. Offaly were distraught, but it would have been harsh on a lively Louth team who were in control for most of the game. Offaly struggled to match Louth's intensity and never played as well as they had done six days earlier against Dublin when they were unfortunate to lose.
Louth manager Paddy Clarke was very happy and hailed the qualifying round, which saw his team earn a second chance at progress through the championship, as a success. 'This match has done wonders for the profile of the back-door system. It is an unqualified success from our point of view,' he said.
A Ciaran McManus point gave Offaly a first-minute lead but points from Colin Kelly, Christy Grimes and Cathal O'Hanlon put Louth in control. McManus (2) and Pascal Keelaghan exchanged points with Ollie McDonnell, O'Hanlon and Grimes as Louth held a two-point half-time lead. The sides continued to swap points in the opening 20 minutes of the second half with Claffey, Neville Coughlan and Alan McNamee on the mark for Offaly and Grimes and Colin Kelly (2) for Louth.
The only goal of the game went to Offaly and it came from substitute Donie Ryan, after an excellent move that went to the length of the field. The score put his side ahead by 1-7 to 0-9 with a quarter of an hour left, but Louth responded quickly with a point from David Reilly to pull level. Two more points from Kelly and Seamus O'Hanlon reasserted Louth's superiority coming to the end of the game, while Bernard O'Brien scored a late point for Offaly before Claffey's miss cost them victory.
Filed by Neill Reilly