Allianz Football League Division Three
Antrim 2-5 Offaly 1-7

IT wasn't pretty and in dreadful conditions how could it have been any other way, but Antrim survived the late Offaly storm at Corrigan Park on Sunday to make it two wins from two in Division Three of the Allianz Football League.

They led by seven approaching the break only to be hit by an Offaly goal and then by six early in the second period only to see that whittled down to one entering stoppage time.

Faced with that surge after Conor Hand was dismissed on 55 minutes, it was a nervous home support that couldn't help but think back to last year when twice winning positions were lost at the death, but perhaps it's a measure of the progress made in the last 12 months that they had the ability to see it out.

It could have been a little more comfortable when a couple of late chances on the breakaway were presented, but a driving wind that had played havoc with both sides' shooting on the day rose its head again, but as it turned out, the winning tally had already been hit.

Over the course of the game, Antrim probably deserved it despite making life difficult for themselves at times, and did what was required after an impressive away win in Limerick seven days previous.

"We were definitely hanging on," manager Andy McEntee admitted after.

"I think we invited them into the game in the first place. We were pretty much in control, gave up sloppy possession and they got a goal when we were seven points up and it brought it down to four (at half-time).

"We get a couple of scores early in the second half and think you've started that well. I suppose the sending off didn't help and they kicked a couple of haymakers, so in that regard, we hung in well but we we still hanging in."

Antrim adapted better to the stormy conditions early on with Eoin Hynds and Niall Burns judging the wind to perfection to score.

It would get better on 13 minutes as Eunan Walsh again was the insitgator as he broke through the Offaly defence to find Ronan Boyle who swivelled and netted.

A Marc Jordan point followed as the Saffrons looked on their way, but Offaly eventually settled and came into the game with two Cian Farrell points.

Just as it seemed they were gaining the upper hand, Kavan Keenan forced a turnover as Jordan raced clear and passed to Dominic McEnhill who was bundled over for a penalty he would tuck away.

But Offaly got back into it before there half as they put the squeeze on that forced a turnover of their own and the four-on-two situation ended with Anton Sullivan crashing home to cut the hosts' lead to 2-3 to 1-2 at the half.

Conditions managed to deteriorate with sheeting rain now driving across the field in the second period, but Antrim pushed on with a Michael Byrne free and Niall Burns effort.

Ruairi McNamee had pulled one back but Antrim looked comfortable entering the final quarter when leading by five, but then Hand was given his marching orders and Offaly took advantage with their own sub, Nigel Dunne cracking a beauty followed in kind by Jordan Hayes seconds later.

Cormac McGettigan challenges Rory Egan

Cormac McGettigan challenges Rory Egan

Their tails were up and the visiting support sensed it, but were dealt a blow of their own on 64 minutes as Jack Bryant was shown black just two minutes after he had been introduced for a body check on Eunan Walsh.

Still, they narrowed the gap to the minimum entering stoppage time through Dunne and McNamee, but they couldn't find a levelled with shots tailing out to the right in the wind.

Antrim actually had some late chances of their own but they too were unable to convert, but they wouldn't matter as they held on with Offaly now still in search of their first points of the campaign.

"We'd two breakaways at then end when you could say there were goals on offer and we didn't take anything from them," McEntee reflected.

"Usually when you don't take chances like that you pay the price, but thankfully we got across the line."

ANTRIM: M Byrne (0-1 f); R Boyle (1-0), E Walsh, K Keenan; M Jordan (0-1), J Finnegan, D McAleese; C McLarnon, P McAleer; E Hynds (0-1), N Burns (0-2, 1 f), R McCann (Creggan); P McBride, C McGettigan, D McEnhill
Subs: C Hand for C McGettigan (48), D Lynch for D McAleese (70+3), O Doherty for N Burns (70+3)

OFFALY: I Duffy; A Bracken, D Dempsey, L Pearson; R Egan, J Furlong, J O'Brien; M Tynan, J Hayes (0-1); P Cunningham, R McNamee (0-2), C Egan; C Farrell (0-2, 1 f), A Sullivan (1-0), K O'Neill.
Subs: N Dunne (0-2) for C Farrell (45), K McDermott for R Egan (53), J Bryant for K O'Neill (64)

REFEREE: P Faloon (Down)