DUBLIN 2-17 OFFALY 0-13
Dublin’s minor hurlers upped their game in the second half to run out convincing ten-point victors over Offaly in Saturday’s Electric Ireland Leinster MHC first round clash at Parnell Park.
The Dubs now progress to the semi-final and will take must confidence from an assured last 15 minute display after a difficult opening to the game that saw them trail 0-4 to 0-0 inside five minutes.
The introduction of ‘veteran’ minors such as Eoghan Conroy, in particular, and Cian O’Sullivan helped drive Dublin to victory in the second half while Dublin’s half-back line, where Paddy Smyth stood out, and midfield got on top when the game was still to be decided entering the last quarter.
Dublin struck for two goals inside the concluding ten minutes with inside forwards Eoghan Dunne and Gavin King both raising green flags.
In the 52nd minute Smyth was strong in defence before delivering a long ball into the danger area which King broke for Dunne who was clinical in his finish to give his side a 1-14 to 0-11 lead.
Six minutes later King brilliantly flicked a Conroy delivery to the net to give Dublin a nine-point cushion, 2-15 to 0-12, going into the final minutes.
Offaly were reduced to 14 men in the 57th minute when wing-forward Ciaran Cleary was dismissed on a second yellow card.
The freetaking of Matthew Oliver was excellent throughout as he struck three frees, two from long range, as well as a ’65’ and added one from play in a lively performance while others such as corner-back Conor Ryan and the impressive Fergal Whitely, who scored three points, drove their side on at every opportunity.
After their slow start Dublin settled and by the half-time break had reeled in the Faithful County to lead 0-8 to 0-7.
Dublin full-forward King also brilliantly converted a 23rd minute sideline from 50 metres while another of the first half highlights was full-back Ciaran Brady’s excellent fetch and point from 60 metres in the ninth minute.
Offaly equalised in the fifth minute of the second half through the talented Liam Langton but as the half progressed Dublin got stronger but still with ten minutes remaining the game was still in the balance, 0-14 to 0-11.
SCORERS – Dublin: E Dunne 1-2, M Oliver 0-5 (0-3f, 0-1 ’65’), G King 1-1 (0-1 sline), F Whitely 0-3, M Maguire 0-2, C Brady, S Sammon, C Burke (0-1f), C Dowling 0-1 each. Offaly: C Molloy 0-6 (0-6f), L Langton 0-3, C Cleary, JP Cleary, O Kelly, E Cahill 0-1 each.
DUBLIN: E Skelly; C Hendricken, C Brady, C Ryan; E Foley, P Smyth, O Lanigan; S Sammon, M Oliver; M Maguire, F Whitely, C Burke; E Dunne, G King; A Considine. Subs: C Dowling for Lanigan (ht), E Conroy for Burke (37), C O’Sullivan for Sammon (43), J McVeigh for Considine (47), D Gray for Foley (59).
OFFALY: W Malone; C O’Brien, B Conneely, P Delaney; S Lowry, J Fogarty, E Kelly; M Gilligan, C Molloy; C Cleary, JP Cleary, O Kelly; J Murray, E Cahill, L Langton. Subs: J Dooley for Kelly, D Buckley for Murray (54), C Curran for O’Brien (57).