A John Reynolds goal four minutes before half-time set Offaly on their way to an expected victory over Louth in the opening round of the Leinster Championship at Pairc Tailteann, running up a score of 1-15 to 1-06.

Two fine scores from the Wee County's top scorer Darren Clarke had the underdogs trailing by just a single point before Reynolds dived onto an Alan McNamee ball to fist home for a soft goal to make it 1-4 to 0-3.

Bouyed by the goal Offaly finished the half strongly to lead by 1-6 to 0-3 at half-time although with twelve wides they should have been a lot further ahead.

Points by Clarke and JP Rooney saw Louth right back in the game at the start of the second half but thereafter the Faithful County took full control with Niall McNamee and James Coughlan in fine scoring form for Kevin Kilmurray's men.

Louth did manage a late consolation goal through Paddy Keenan but it proved too little, too late.

The victory was tainted somewhat for the Faithful County with the sending off of right full back Cathal Daly in the final minute for a second bookable offence.

Offaly now meet Laois in the next round while Louth are forced to look to the back door to keep their slim championship hopes alive.