By Peter Nolan
Offaly and Roscommon’s footballers closed out Sunday’s sparsely attended schedule with a scrappy draw, Offaly 0-8 to Roscommon 1-5.
This senior B contest opened brightly enough with Offaly midfielder James Mitchell and Roscommon’s John McFadden exchanging points. The Connaght side had a much stronger team than the one that performed so poorly in their opening loss to Mayo.
The two sides again traded scores, with Michael Higgins of Offaly and Brian Keenan of Roscommon pointing frees. Offaly had the better of the play in the opening half with Enda Condren and Chris Willis in the half back line combining well with Mitchell and Higgins at midfield to shade the action Offaly’s way.
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Then Roscommon pounced for an opportunistic goal from Brian Keenan. Keenan was first to react to a carom high off the upright and his goal was Roscommon’s third, and last score of the opening stanza.
Dan Leavey was on song for Offaly in the opening half, scoring three good points, including one at the buzzer, to send Offaly to the break up 0-7 to 1-2. Offaly really should have been further ahead, but inconsistent free taking was a problem.
Roscommon came out strong in the second half. James Martin pointed twice, once from play and once from a free. The Offaly defense was scrambling with fullback Sean Nolan and corner back Mark Dolan making some key tackles.
Leavey was operating further outfield, rendering the Offaly attack impotent and the Faithful managed only a solitary point in the second half, and that from a Higgins free.
Roscommon dominated the play throughout the second half. With a loss, a likely death knell for their season, Roscommon reloaded and John McFadden , Aiden Trayor, Barry Donnelly and Brian Keenan were among their top performers on the day.
After Martin’s two early scores and Higgin’s free, neither side could find the target. Roscommon will regret their poor shooting but Barry Donnelly hit a last minute free that tied the match and may have saved Roscommon’s season.
Man of the Match: John McFadden, Roscommon.
Offaly: Kieran Farrelly, Ed Flynn, Sean Nolan, Mark Dolan, Mike Dolan, Enda Condren (0-1), Chris Willis, James Mitchell (0-1), Michael Higgins (0-3), Noel Coughlan, Ronan McDonald, Pa Tracey, Dan Sheehan, Dan Leavy (0-3), Brendan Moran.
Roscommon: Mike Deere, John Santry, Pauric Carney, Joe Naughton, Declan Coyne, Leo Shril, Aiden Traynor, Tim Coakley, Donal Cassidy, John McFadden (0-1), Barry Donnelly (0-1), Brian Keenan (1-1), Darragh McDonagh, James Martin (0-2), Aiden Murray.