Saffrons left to rue missed chances

NFL Division Three

Offaly 2-12 Antrim 0-12

By Michael McMullan

ANTRIM manager Andy McEntee was frustrated his side couldn’t get anything from Sunday’s league opener against Offaly at Corrigan Park.

Goals from Bernard Allen and Ruairí McNamee were the difference in a game Antrim pegged back to three points with the game in the melting pot late on.

Points from James McAuley and Paddy McBride had the score back to 1-11 to 0-11 with the game ticking into stoppage time.

In the minutes before, Antrim saw Odhran Eastwood and Paddy Finnegan denied almost certain goals with Bernard Allen capitalising from a defensive slip to slot home Offaly’s goal to seal the deal.

“They (Offaly) got two half chances and they got two goals and I think we got three or four good chances and got none,” McEntee said, point to other wrong options taken over the course of the game.

“We were talking shots for points that weren’t really percentage shots, even without the goal chances when there was just three points in it,” he added.

“It could’ve been level  very easily if we had the right fellas taking the right shots from the right areas.”

The visitors had the breeze at their back and hit two early points before Antrim recovered and settled into the game.

Trailing 0-3 to 0-2, the Saffrons lost their way and went four points down before Offaly hit their first goal with Peter Cunningham’s run through the centre setting up Ruairi McNamee for the finish.

Offaly led 1-8 t0 0-4 at half time and pushed nine points clear of an Antrim side  that registered seven second-half wides.

“Two of those wides were scores at a vital stage,” McEntee felt. “When the game is down to three points and we have two points and umpires day they are wide, instead of a three-point game it’s a one-point game and we don’t need goals.

“That’s disappointing and that’s basic stuff, but at the same time we can’t have complaints. We had enough ball and enough possession and enough chances to win the game and certainly get something out of it.”

Offaly: I Duffy; C Donohoe, D Hogan, D Dempsey; R Egan, P Cunningham (0-1) , L Pearson ; J McEvoy , C McNamee ; J Maher (0-1), R McNamee (1-1), S O’Toole-Greene; N Dunne (0-2f), A Sullivan (0-3), D Hyland (0-4, 2f)
Subs: B Allen (1-0)  for S O’Toole-Greene (HT), C Farrell  for N Dunne (48), L Egan for J Maher (63), J Bryant  for D Hyland (702), A Brazil for C Donohoe (73)

Antrim: M Byrne; P Healy, D Lynch, J McAuley (0-1); D McAleese, J Finnegan, M Jordan; J Dowling, C Stewart (0-1); P McBride (0-1), R Murray (0-3f), C Duffin; P Shivers (0-1), R McCann (Creggan) (0-1), D McEnhill (0-2,1f)
Subs: R McCann (Aghagallon) (0-2) for D McEnhill (HT), K Small for J Dowling (HT), P Finnegan  for C Duffin, O Eastwood for R McCann (Creggan 58), P Mervyn for J Finnegan (65)

Referee: C Dourneen (Cavan)

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