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Offaly march on to Leinster semi-final

Story by Tom Kelly

Saturday, 10th March, 2012 5:30pm

Offaly's Under 21 footballers lined up a Leinster semi-final clash with Louth after a tense victory over Kildare on Wednesday night.

Having defeated Meath in the opening round, hopes were high that the Faithful County could continue their impressive form in Gracefield.

In a closely fought encounter, Offaly, thanks to Anton Sullivan's accuracy, at one stage led by two points midway through the opening half, but were pegged back to a single point half-time lead (0-5 to 0-4)

That was immediately whittled away on the resumption, although points from Hannon and Allen had Offaly two points in front before the visitors were dealt a major blow on 39 minutes when corner back Mickey Kelly was sent off.

Despite the numerical advantage, Offaly only added a single point in the remaining 20 minutes, while 14-man Kildare put them under significant pressure late on. Poor finishing from both sides meant only four points were added in the final quarter, leaving Offaly hanging on by a single point.

Offaly: G. Shiels, D. Hanlon, E. Rigney, J. Kavanagh, S. Hannon, J. Ledwith, J. McPadden, M. Brazil, D. Kelly, D. Hogan, A. Sullivan, G. Guilfoyle, T. Spain, B. Allen and M. Young. Subs: S. Cullen for Guilfoyle; C. Donoghue for Hanlon; G. Guilfoyle fo Young, A. McDonagh for Spain.

Kildare: M. Donnellan, M. Kelly, M. Konstantin, B. Egan, E. Powderly, E. Doyle, C. O'Shea, W. Burke, K.Feeley, C. Reynolds, T. Moolick, S. Hurley, D. Mulhall, P. Fogarty and L. McGovern. Subs: C. Bolton for Mulhall; F. Dowling for Moolick; D. Hylan for Egan; D. Flynn for Reynolds.