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Offaly v Armagh - Allianz Football League Division 3 Round 4

25 February 2018; Paul Hughes of Armagh in action against Nigel Dunne of Offaly during the Allianz Football League Division 3 Round 4 match between Offaly and Armagh at Bord Na Móna O’Connor Park in Offaly. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Allianz FL D3 and D4 round-ups

By Declan Rooney

Allianz Football League Division Three

Westmeath 0-20 Sligo 0-14

Longford 1-12 Wexford 0-9

Armagh 1-15 Offaly 1-9

Armagh *are back on top of Division Three table on scoring difference after a convincing six-point win gave Kieran McGeeney’s side a fourth win from four outings, this time against *Offaly at O’Connor Park in Tullamore.

With Ethan Rafferty and Andrew Murnan impressing, Armagh were 0-4 to 0-1 up after a bright first five minutes from McGeeney’s men, but playing into the wind Offaly kept in touch as Sean Doyle and Nigel Dunne caught the eye.

A goal from Gregory McCabe seemed to put Armagh in total control, but moments later Offaly hit straight back through Doyle to make it 1-5 to 1-2 after 12 minutes.

Rafferty and Murnan split six points between them in the first half to give their side a 1-10 to 1-5 lead at the interval, and the first three points of the second period went to Armagh as midfielder Charlie Vernon, Rafferty and Niall Rowland helped the Orchard County into an eight-point advantage.

Nigel Dunne, Bernard Allen and youngster Cian Johnston did kick points for Offaly, but Rafferty’s four points helped Armagh claim a 1-15 to 1-9 victory.

John Heslin’s eight-point haul helped Westmeath to their third win of the campaign as Sligo slipped to their third defeat and into a real relegation battle.

Three points in the first four minutes from Heslin, Ger Egan and Callum McCormack meant Westmeath got off to a flyer at TEG Cusack Park, but Adrian Marren soon got Sligo up and running with a point two minutes later.

A fine save denied Kyle Cawley a goal for Sligo after 13 minutes, but a free from Marren was some consolation for the Yeats men and Niall Murphy soon cut the lead to a point.

Three points in a row saw Westmeath open up a five point lead 12 minutes before the interval, but after he helped his side hit back with three more, Marren was forced off for Sligo just before the break, while his side trailed 0-10 to 0-7 at half-time.

Egan and Murphy exchanged points after the break and a Pat Hughes point for Sligo again closed the gap to one point with 15 minutes remaining, but Sligo could not level the game as two Heslin frees and another from Kieran Martin saw Westmeath take control and eventually run out 0-20 to 0-14 winners.

A third win from four means Longford are only two points behind Fermanagh and Armagh at the top of the table and very much in the chase for promotion to Division Two following this six-point win over a winless Wexford.

Rian Brady and Conor Brady got Longford off to a great start at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, and with David McGivney and Barry McKeon also on target the home side lead by 0-4 to 0-2 after 14 minutes.

McKeon and McGivney maintained Longford’s two-point advantage, but with Paul Curtis on song and Ben Brosnan also on target, Wexford closed to within 0-7 to 0-5 at half-time.

The first two points of the second-half were scored by Wexford with Brosnan to the fore once more, but despite a four-point personal tally, he was unable to pull his side into the lead.

And the last three points of the game were kicked by Pauric Gill, Michael Quinn and Smith as Longford ran out convincing 1-12 to 0-9 winners.

Allianz Football League Division Four

*Laois 1-16 *Wicklow 0-10 

Leitrim 2-18 Limerick 1-9

*Antrim 0-17 *London 0-13 

Laois puled level with Carlow at the top of Division Four and maintained their perfect start to the competition with victory over Wicklow in Aughrim.

Rory Finn and Evan O’Carroll exchanged scores early on, but the unbeaten midlander soon took over as Ross Munnelly pointed twice, before Gary Walsh added another. Wicklow stayed in touch though as Seanie Furlong and Padraig Doyle scored, but Walsh hit the first goal of the game and added another point for Laois, which gave them a six point lead after 20 minutes.

Laois had pulled eight clear by the time Darren Hayden kicked a free to stop the flow, but Laois still impressed and were full value for their 1-10 to 0-4 advantage.

Three Mark Jackson frees and another from Mark Kenny give some life to Wicklow’s comeback hopes after the break but O’Carroll kept Laois well ahead and the honour of the last point fell to Munnelly as Laois ran out nine-point winners.

Elsewhere, Keith Beirne was the hero for* Leitrim* with two goals as Benny Guckian’s side picked up their first win of the season at Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada.

Beirne hit the net for Leitrim after 16 minutes which put the home side 1-4 to 0-2 ahead after their bright start, and when Dean McGovern and Beirne added quick points that lead was soon out to seven.

Sean O’Dea’s point after 25 minutes kept Limerick’s hopes alive, but the next three scores went to the Connacht side before Jamie Lee kicked point number four for Limerick, while Josh Ryan’s free made it 1-10 to 0-5 at the break.

Lee was the first to score after the break as Limerick trailed by seven points, before Beirne pointed, but Robby Bourke’s 45th minute goal and Danny Neville’s point meant the Shannonsiders only trailed by four points with 19 minutes remaining.

Jack Heslin and Beirne kicked good scores to restore Leitrim’s two-goal cushion, and after Seamus O’Carroll was sent off for Limerick late on, Beirne fired his second goal to clinch a 2-18 to 1-9 win for Leitrim.

Meanwhile, at McGovern Park in Ruislip, Antrim *stayed in touch in the promotion battle and claimed a third win from four away to *London.

Points from Ryan Elliot and Adrian Moyles pushed London into an early lead, and after a quarter hour of playing into the wind, Antrim trailed 0-4 to 0-1. Lenny Harbinson’s side had closed that gap to 0-6 to 0-4 after half and hour and just a point separated the sides at the interval.

Antrim started the scoring after the break as a point from Ryan Murray levelled matters and by the midway point the Ulster men had crept into a 0-13 to 0-11 lead.

Another three points without reply put Antrim well clear approaching the final stages and they held on for a third win, which means they only trail the leaders by one point ahead of consecutive top of the table battles with Laois and Carlow.

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