Young goal sets Offaly up for victory over Meath
Super Offaly sent Meath crashing out of the Leinster U-21 FC at Gracefield on Wednesday night to book a quarter-final place against Kildare next Wednesday night, in a tie fixed for the same venue. Offaly can take plenty of positives out of this victory, achieved with 14 men after Rhode's Paul McPadden was red-carded in first-half injury-time, apparently for an off-the-ball incident with Meath's Ciaran Lenehan. The home side were adrift by a point, 0-4 to 0-5, at that stage, but went in on level terms when the superb Anton Sullivan converted a late free for his third point of the half. Meath dictated the early exchanges and played the hosts off the park for 10 minutes with some excellent approach work. Ballinabrackey's Damien Carroll (free) pointed Meath in front after two minutes and Shane Gillespie opened their account from play. Offaly were dropping the ball short at the other end, but gradually stemmed the flow of Meath pressure. Points from Sullivan (two) and full-forward Bernard Allen gave the home supporters some hope, but Meath manager Liam Harnan introduced Anthony Forde in attack after 22 minutes and he had the Royals back on terms soon afterwards. Forde then carved out a goal chance, but some heroic defending cleared the danger and Offaly countered with a James McPadden point. That raised the tempo and Meath responded with points from Patrick Fox and Carroll before the linesman brought that off-the-ball incident to the referee's attention. Sullivan's injury-time point sent the teams in at 0-5 apiece for the interval. Meath resumed in a disjointed manner and, despite the extra man in defence, were unable to keep tabs on a hard-working Offaly side. Two points from Allen had the home supporters buzzing and when Edenderry substitute Mark Young rifled to the net with 17 minutes remaining, it gave the hosts a platform for victory. The goal arrived at the end of a superb move that involved David Hanlon, Eoin Rigney and John Ledwith with Young finishing well. Young added a point a minute later for a 1-8 to 0-5 advantage. Meath eventually got on the second-half scoreboard with 10 minutes remaining when Sean Tobin sent over from play, but Offaly centre-back Ledwith countered with a fine point after Sullivan made the opening. Meath managed two more Gillespie points, but a bad night got worse for Harnan's men when Darragh Maguire was red-carded near the end for a high tackle as Offaly go marching on. Offaly: G Shiels; D Hanlon, E Rigney, J Kavanagh; S Hannon, J Ledwith (0-1), J McPadden (0-1); M Brazil, D Kelly; D Hogan, A Sullivan (0-3, 1 free, 1 '45'), G Guilfoyle; T Spain, B Allen (0-3), P McPadden. Subs: M Young (1-1) for Spain (26 mins), S Cullen for Allen (59m). Meath: C McHugh; C McConnell, B Dillon, J Quigley; P Fox (0-1), C Lenehan, D Maguire; B Menton, S Tobin (0-1); D Larkin, M O'Sullivan, D Carroll (0-2); S Gillespie (0-4, 2 frees), N Murphy, P McKeever. Subs: A Forde (0-1) for Murphy (22 mins), C Devereux for Larkin (half-time), D Keogan for Quigley (46m), D McGovern for McKeever, F Toolin for Tobin both (56m). Referee: Damien Maher (Westmeath).