Tipperary def.Offaly to take a big step towards safety

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Conor Sweeney’s penalty goal in the 31st minute proved crucial as Tipperary took an important step to avoid relegation when he defeated Offaly in Division 3 of the Allianz Football League at Semple Stadium today.

The penalty was awarded after Tipp’s Michael Quinlivan was pulled down after the rebound of his shot on goal and Sweeney calmly shot the resulting penalty into the net to give his team a deserved 1-08-09 halftime lead.

Tipp was more competitive from the start and with Conor Sweeney and Jack Kennedy in the lead roles they led 0-05 to 0-03 on the first water break.

They could have been further ahead at halftime, but Kevin O’Halloran had two attempts on penalties after Offaly kicked off.

Offaly had a chance to stay in danger and increased his game in the second half. Tipperary held on, however, as the teams shared eight points by the second water break.

Tipperary, who took the lead 1:12 to 0-13 in the last quarter and lost midfielder Stephen O’Brien to an injury after 23 minutes, suffered another setback when Jack Kennedy hit the black card in the 53rd minute was set. Despite being a short man, they kept their cool, showing Offaly three to one before Kennedy returned.

Offaly attacked in the final minutes, but Tipperary controlled possession to deny Faithful’s scoring opportunities and ended comfortable winners.

It was a big win for Tipperary, who can now score points with Offaly in one round. For Offaly, however, losing the points puts an end to their chances of promotion and they could now be drawn into the relegation battle with Louth and Leitrim who support the leaderboard.

Despite his black card, Jack Kennedy had a big game for Tipperary and he was the key man with Kevin Fahey, Michael Quinlivan, Conor Sweeney, Jimmy Feehan and Sub Liam Boland to that win.

Offaly never really reached her potential and followed the game throughout. John Moloney, Bernard Allen, Peter Cunningham, Niall Darby and Eoin Rigney were her top performers.

Tipperary: E Comerford; Ein Campbell, J Feehan, CO Shaughnessy; B. Maher, K. Fahey, R. Kiely; SO Brien (0-01), L Casey (0-02); J. Kennedy (0-03), M. Quinlivan (0-02), P. Austin; KO Halloran (0-01), C Sweeney (1-05, Stift, 2fs,) C Ryan

Subs: B Fox for O Brien 23, R Quigley for Ryan ht, L Boland (0-02) for Austin 45 minutes, J Lonergan for O Halloran 52, E Moloney for Maher 64 minutes.

Offaly: P Dunican; D. Hogan, E. Rigney, N. Darby; E. Carroll (0-01), J. Moloney (0-01), C. Donohue; Ein Leavy, J Hayes; S. Horan, R. McNamee (0-01), C. Mangan (0-01), C. Farrell (0-04,4f), P. Cunningham (0-03,1f), B. Allen (0-02)

Subs: A Sullivan (0-01) for Donohue ht, C Doyle for Leavy ht, N McNamee (0-01) for Farrell 50, C McNamee (0-01) for Mangan 59, R Egan for Moloney 69.

referee: D Murnane (Cork).

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