Carlow’s hopes of progressing to the next round of the Leinster Senior Football Championship were dashed by Offaly at O’Connor Park in Tullamore on Saturday
Niall Carew’s side will have to wait until next year to compete in the Leinster championship again after losing to Offaly 3-14 to 0-20. The home side started the game sharper than their opponent’s and raced into an early 1-02 to 0-03 lead. Offaly hit the net in the 18th minute again to go five points clear, but Carlow rallied to draw level with the ten-time Leinster champions, 2-03 to 0-09, five minutes before the half-time break. John Maughan’s side responded strongly and finished the half as the stronger side, scoring three unanswered points to lead by three at half-time.
Despite Paul Broderick keeping the scoreboard ticking for Carlow with two frees, Offaly scored their third and final goal of the game, one that would prove to be crucial in the eventual outcome. The Barrowsider’s failed to eat into Offaly’s lead as the half went on. The home team looked to have wrapped the game up when they went 3-13 to 0-14 ahead but a young Carlow side never gave up and were rewarded a penalty with ten minutes of normal time remaining. Broderick missed the glorious opportunity to drag his team back into the game when he hit it over the bar for his eight point of the game.
Carlow came again with points from Chris Blake, who capped a fine display with three points from play, and Shane Dunphy. Six points in a row left Carlow trailing by two in added time but a point at the death from the Faithful County meant Carlow’s efforts were all in vain.
Carlow will be out of action until the New Year when they will be aiming to promote from Division 4 of the National Football League.