Waterford 1-19; Offaly 1-16
Three points in the last seven minutes, and a single effort from substitute Shane Walsh, saw Waterford overcome a spirited Offaly challenge at Walsh Park on Easter Sunday.
However, over the course of the 70-plus minutes the crowd of around 3,000 had little to get excited about, with the biggest cheer of the day reserved for when Tony Browne was introduced as a sub late on to signal a remarkable eighteenth senior season.
In a free-ridden first half it was the home side that retired to the dressing-rooms with the slenderest of leads. Referee John Sexton awarded twenty frees in the opening half and it was from these that most of the scores came.
The visitors’ led by 0-2 to 0-1 after six minutes. Seamus Prendergast opened the scoring for the home side with a terrific point after four minutes, after which Brian Carroll and Derek Molloy added points for Offaly.
By the 12th minute Waterford had edged in front courtesy of three frees converted by Eoin Kelly and another effort from play by Seamus Prendergast gave them a 0-5 to 0-2 lead.
The Faithful County fought back, however, and midway through the opening half were all square thanks to three points, all from frees, by Shane Dooley.
Kelly and Dooley swapped points from frees to keep the sides level with 19 minutes gone, after which came scores from play by Derek Molly and Maurice Shanahan.
Dooley edged the Midlanders in front, but Waterford went ahead again following a brace of frees by Kelly. Dooley draw Offaly level from a placed ball and then Daniel Currams pointed to put them one up.
Waterford finished the half the stronger, with Kelly pointing a free in stoppage time and Shane O’Sullivan striking another as the referee waited for the ball to go dead before he was permitted to blow the half-time whistle under the new experimental rules.
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