All Ireland Masters Football Championship
By Larry Cooney
Offaly’s had six points to spare over London after a very entertaining encounter in Edenderry last Saturday afternoon in the Gaelic Masters.
But in truth the veterans from the Faithful County, who included the legendary midfielder Ciaran McManus in their line-up, were far more superior than the final scoreline might suggest.
And they could even afford to kick almost twenty wides on their way to a very comfortable victory, played in generally good conditions with intermittent showers.
And by a strange coincidence London’s most influential player was also their number 9 and captain – Aidan Dillane who never stopped trying to make things happen for the Exiles as well as being their top scorer.
The Kingdom Kerry Gaels clubman, similar to his opposite number, quite simply rolled back the years and gave a fine exhibition of many of his skills of yester year, some of which he has not lost yet!
And also put on plenty of bursts of speed and made a number of attacking runs that usually resulted in scores.
But from an Exiles’ point of view Dillane’s contribution happened only all too sporadically after the Offaly midfield partnership of Ciaran Mc- Manus and Mark Dally took an early grip of the playing exchanges.
Dillane was also powerless to prevent Offaly take a commanding and fully deserved half-time lead of 2-8 to 0-5 by the end of the first half.
An assist from Aaron McEvoy gave Ciaran Mc- Manus the opportunity to open the scoring for Offaly after only three minutes before McEvoy also provided the vital pass a minute later for Dave Cassidy to rattle the London net for the first of their two first half goals.
London looked anything but organised defensively in the opening exchanges and after a torrid opening six minutes the visitors trailed by 1-3 to 0-0.
Eventually London did get the ball past midfield to set up their first attack and although nothing came from a free following a foul on Colm Lynott in the ninth minute Aidan Dillane opened the visitors account with a point.
For full match report see this week’s edition of the Irish World
OFFALY: James Steward; Darren Hennessy, Dara McEvoy, Enda Dunne; Gerry O’Malley, Terry Brennan, Darren Quinn; Mark Daly, Ciaran McManus; Dave Cassidy, Conor Conneely, John Mason; Shane Donovan, Niall McEvoy, Aaron McEvoy. Subs: Adrian Ferris for Shane Donovan, Adrian Mahon for Terry Brennan.
LONDON: Brendan Boyle; Tim Slattery, Eddie McGuigan, Conor Murray; Aaron O’Donnell, Neil Gallagher, Nigel McDermott, Damien McKenna, Aidan Dillane, Colm Lynnott, Shane Hourihane, David Igoe, Neil O’Shea, Dermot Sweeney, Andreas Redican. Subs: Michael Liston for Brendan Boyle (h/t), Dave Cannon, Martin McMenamon, Noel Dunning, Alan Murray, Ollie Sheerin, Finain O’Dowd, Brendan Doan, Ross Hughes.