Rampant Offaly returned to Division 1 hurling with a very impressive and convincing win over Down in O'Connor Park.

Offaly controlled the game from start to finish, never allowing the visitors a sniff of it and it means that they have promotion secured with a round to spare, a trip to Wicklow next weekend.

It marks a huge turnaround for the Faithful County. Last November, they were dismayed when they lost the Christy Ring Cup semi-final to Down on penalties in Newry, but it was a very different story here.

In reality, Offaly were in a different league to Down, much sharper and more incisive than their opponents and were never in danger of losing.

A superb Brian Duignan goal straight from the throw in put them on the road here and they never looked back.

Liam Langton shoots to score Offaly's second goal

In the first 20 minutes, they were at their best and a fine Liam Langton goal had them 2-9 to 0-3 in front. An Oisin Kelly goal made it 3-10 to 0-5 and the Mourne men were simply out on their feet.

Fortunately for them, Offaly lost their way a bit before half time but the points were in the bag as they led by 3-11 to 0-8 at the break.

Down improved after the resumption, but their shooting accuracy left a lot to be desired at times.

A penalty goal from Conor Woods reduced the defecit to 3-15 to 1-10, but Michael Fennelly's side kept pushing on.

Goals from Liam Langton and Eoghan Cahill (penalty) put them out of sight and 18-point winners on the day.

Offaly: Conor Clancy; Paddy Delaney, Ciarán Burke, David King; Joey Keenaghan, Ben Conneely, Killian Sampson 0-1; Leon Fox 0-1, Ross Ravenhill ; Jason Sampson 0-3, Oisin Kelly 1-0, Brian Duignan 1-0; Liam Langton 2-3, Shane Kinsella, Eoghan Cahill 1-11 (1-0 penalty, 4f and 2 '65's).

Subs: John Murphy for Duignan (44m), David Nally for Fox (58m) 0-1, Aidan Treacy for Keenaghan (58m) 0-1 (f), Conor Langton for Kinsella (58m), Paraic Guinan for Delaney (62m), Shane Dooley for Ravenhill (62m) 0-1, Luke O'Connor for Jason Sampson (66m),

Down: Stephen Keith; Michael Hughes, Caolan Taggart, Conor Cassidy; Matt Conlon, Conor Woods 1-0 (p), Liam Savage; Donal Hughes 0-1, Eoghan Sands 0-3; Pearse Og McCrickard 0-1, Paul Sheehan 0-5 (5f), Ronan Costello 0-4; Daithi Sands, Ryan McCusker 0-1, Jordan Doran.

Subs: Phelim Savage for Doran (24m), Gerard Hughes for Michael Hughes (53m), Marc Fisher for McCrickard (53m), Oisin MacManus for Sheehan (53m) 0-4 (4f), Ruairi Campbell for Donal Hughes (60m), P.J. Davidson for McCusker (60m), Donal Og Rooney for Cassidy (69m).

Referee: Shane Hynes (Galway).