DUBLIN 1-20 OFFALY 2-16
Dublin made a winning start to their 2013 Allianz HL Division 1B but only just in Saturday night’s opening round clash against Offaly in Parnell Park.
The Dubs led for most of the 70 minutes but failed to convert promising possession into scores and were almost made pay a heavy price in a hectic finish.
Anthony Daly’s men led 0-11 to 0-6 at the interval but it could have been a greater margin but their luck deserted them in the scoring zone as a couple of potential goal-scoring opportunites were squandered in a half during which they held the upperhand.
Five minutes into the game Danny Sutcliffe lifted a ball and got bottled up that if he had pulled first time might have rattled the net and four minutes later a goal effort by Paul Ryan was saved by corner-back David King.
However, the accuracy of Ryan from placed balls held the Dubs to their five-point interval advantage.
Twelve minutes into the second half the home side were 0-15 to 0-8 in front following two scores from the industrious Conor McCormack and a brace from Dublin’s best performer Conal Keaney.
Keaney’s second effort was a sublime 80-metre strike from near the terrace side of the ground – score that should have inspired his men to drive on for victory.
But Offaly were in defiant mood and kept very much in the hunt.
Shane Dooley raised the first of his two green flags in the 56th minute when he clipped the ball to the net along the ground to reduce the arrears.
Dublin responded immediately in the best possible fashion when Sutcliffe showed good poacher’s intinct to apply the finish to the net after John McCaffrey’s initial shot was parried by keeper James Dempsey.
A long-range point from Kevin Byrne edged Dublin six points clear, 1-17 to 1-11, but the drama was far from over as Dooley goaled from a 20-metre free with eight minutes left, which was swiftly followed by a Cathal Parlon point, and suddenly only two points separated the sides.
Thankfully from Dublin’s perspective they responded with a Paul Ryan point despite Offaly coming strong down the finish Keaney’s fifth point from play saw them just about home to victory.
SCORERS – Dublin: P Ryan 0-7 (0-6f), C Keaney 0-5, D Sutcliffe 1-2, C McCormack 0-3, J Boland, K Byrne, J McCaffrey 0-1 each. Offaly: S Dooley 2-9 (1-8f, 0-1 sline), C Parlon, J Berlin (0-1f) 0-2 each, R Hanniffy, B Carroll, J Mulrooney 0-1 each.
DUBLIN: G Maguire; P Kelly, P Schutte, R Trainor; M Carton, L Rushe, S Durkin; J Boland, K Byrne; C Keaney, J McCaffrey, D Sutcliffe; P Ryan, C McCormack, M Schutte. Subs: D Treacy for M Schutte (55), N Corcoran for P Schutte (inj) (58), D OCallaghan for Sutcliffe (66), S Lambert for Byrne (69).
OFFALY: J Dempsey; D Morkan, C McDonald, D King; D Mooney, K Brady, S Gardiner; R Hanniffy, S Ryan; B Carroll, J Bergin, C Parlon; J Mulrooney, S Dooley, O Kealey. Subs: C Egan for Kealey (33), T Carroll for Ryan (51), D Molloy for Carroll (66).
REF: J McGrath (Westmeath).
Allianz Hurling League Fixtures 2013
Feb 23: v Offaly (h) – Dublin 1-20 Offaly 2-16
Mar 10: v Antrim (a)
Mar 16: v Limerick (h)
Mar 24: v Wexford (a)
Mar 31: v Carlow (h)