Round-up: Allianz HL D2A, 2B, 3A, 3B
Allianz Hurling League Division 2A
Antrim 0-20 Wicklow 0-11
Offaly 0-26 Meath 1-21
Allianz Hurling League Division 2B
Kildare 2-26 London 0-20
Derry 1-19 Down 0-19
Allianz Hurling League Division 3A
Armagh 2-17 Donegal 0-15
Longford 2-16 Monaghan 0-18
Tyrone 1-21 Louth 1-16
Allianz Hurling League Division 3B
Fermanagh 2-12 Leitrim 1-13
There were first round wins for Offaly, Antrim and Kerry as expected in Division 2A of the Allianz Hurling league over the weekend, but Faithful County supporters had to endure a nervous last few minutes in Birr as Meath mounted a serious late surge and failed to take a late goal chance that would have snatched a famous result for them.
These two sides met a few weeks ago in the Kehoe Cup and Offaly fired in eight goals on that occasion, and it looked like a similarly one-sided encounter was in store this afternoon as the home side rattled off 18 first half points, building up an 0-18 to 0-10 interval lead.
Liam Langton led the way for the home side in that period from frees and from play, while Sean Cleary, Shane Kinsella and Thomas Geraghty also posted a couple of points each.
Pauric OHalloran finished off a lovely flowing team move in the seventh minute of the second half to drag Meath back into it and he continued to carry the fight to Offaly, racking up 1-12 in total. Damien Healy had a late goal attempt that was blocked, and that proved crucial as Offaly held on to win by 0-26 to 1-21.
Jack Doyle and Danny Staunton hit some nice first half scores for Wicklow at Pearse Park in Arklow this afternoon and while a Neil McManus free made it 0-8 to 0-7 to Antrim at half time in their encounter, the Garden County would have felt like they were in with a great shout at that stagte of the contest.
Antrim controlled the third quarter of the game however, with a Danny McCloskey point and some sensational scores from McManus the highlights as they shot eight of the first nine points of the second half, before easing over the line, 0-20 to 0-11.
New Offaly manager Michael Fennelly.
It was a similar story in Elverys MacHale Park in Castlebar on Saturday evening, when Jordan Conways goal and four points in a row from Shane Conway gave Kerry a six point interval lead over Mayo, but the second half was far more one sided, with Brandon Barrett the other goalscorer in a 2-24 to 0-13 win for the Kingdom, who will play host to Offaly next week.
It was a story of two key goal chances in the big game in Division 2B at Owenbeg. Richie Mullen fired in his opportunity for the home side while Sean Kelly made a superb save to deny Downs Eoghan Sands, and Derry ran out 1-19 to 0-19 winners. Derrys Cormac ODoherty and his Mourne County counterpart Oisn McManus were in excellent form scoring 0-13 each, but Derry kept their noses in front to secure a crucial two points.
Mickey Joe Egan was the man of the match in Dr. Hyde Park on Saturday, scoring 1-7 out of Roscommons tally in their 2-19 to 1-10 win over Warwickshire. Cillian Egan rattled in the other first half goal for the Rossies, who also had a penalty saved but still easily secured the win, despite the absence of chief scorer Cathal Dolan, who was suspended.
There was another Ulster derby in Division 3A at ODonnell Park in Letterkenny and it looked like Donegal might edge proceedings against Armagh when former Armagh man Declan Coulter and PJ McCarron pointed in quick succession to put the home side 0-15 to 1-10 ahead after 50 minutes, but that was to be their last scores of the game as Ryan Gaffney blasted in an excellent goal and Armagh never looked back, running out 2-17 to 0-15 winners. Rair Convery 0-6, Danny Magee 0-5 and Eoin McGuinness 1-1 were the other key scorers for the Orchard men.
Conor Grogan's late goal sealed a 1-21 to 1-16 win for Tyrone over Louth at Darver so they join Armagh at the top of the 3A table, while in Division 3B, Cimn Quigley scored well in Lancashires 0-15 to 0-8 win over Cavan and Fermanagh beat Leitrim by 2-12 to 1-13, with Tom Keenan of Kinawley lighting up the stage on his debut. His two first half goals helped the home side into a nine-point interval lead after they trailed early on, but they had to resist a late Leitrim fightback and while Jamie Ward got a goal for Leitrim, Fermanagh were able to clear a Zac Moradi shot off the line and hold out for the win.