By Conor Martin
It was an unbelievable weekend in Tullamore as both Offaly senior football semi finals needed extra time as Rhode and Tullamore progressed to contest the Offaly senior football final in a couple of weeks time.
There was the first ever penalty shootout in Offaly championship football as Ferbane and Tullamore were still joined at the hip after 80 minutes of football with the sides deadlocked at 1-14 0-17 when the referee blew his whistle at the end of the second period of extra-time.
Reigning champions Ferbane were perhaps not at their usual standard and had to level the game both in normal time to force extra time, and in extra time to force penalties.
After being fortunate to comeback and level affairs more than once their luck ran out as Tullamore won the shootout after sudden death.
The shootout wasn’t for those of the faint-hearted and definitely provided entertainment value.
After Johnny Moloney missed his sudden death kick for Tullamore, Shane Nally had a chance to win it for Ferbane but the pressure got to Nally as he flattered from the spot and the shootout went on.
Ciaran Egan rattled the net and Sean Flynn missed for Ferbane meaning Tullamore were through after a famous and unique battle winning 9-8 on penalties.
In the other semi-final saw extra time needed to separate local rivals Rhode and Edenderry.
Rhode took the game to their opponents early on but Edenderry found their rhythm and everything seemed to click for them as they looked set to cause an upset only for an injury time point from Ruairi McNamee forced extra time.
After an impressive performance in normal time The Rhode men kicked on in extra time with a goal from Niall McNamee who had a impressive game supplying the vital score as they won 1-14 to 0-13 and moved into the last two where the decider between the two most successful senior clubs in Offaly GAA history will surely be a mouthwatering clash.
Judging by the semi-finals the two sides in the final will put on an entertaining affair to prove that club championship football has been worth the wait this year.