Offaly 3-19 Dublin 1-18:
OFFALY PRODUCED a great second-half fightback to come from behind to defeat Dublin by a seven-point margin in yesterday’s Division One game at O’Connor Park in Tullamore.
Having seen a five-point first-half lead disappear as they fell three points behind early in the second half, Offaly looked to be struggling but they showed great character to battle their way back into the game and over the final quarter they were the dominant team and finished with a flourish.
Dublin were in a strong position 10 minutes into the second half when they led by 1-17 to 2-11 but from there on they only managed one more point, a 65 a minute into injury time, as Offaly hit 1-8. To add to Dublin’s woes they were also reduced to 14 men after 65 minutes when Maurice O’Brien received his second yellow card.
This was an important win for Offaly. They had lost their opening two games away to Cork and Kilkenny, so needed a good response on home soil. And they certainly got it. With Shane Dooley accounting for 2-10 of their total, a forward line which was score-shy in the first two games, found their range impressively and picked off some great scores.
Dublin arrived on a high after their win over Tipperary but when the chips were down in the final quarter of this game, they faded badly.
In the first half Dublin were picking up a lot of the loose breaks around the middle of the field and their midfielders scored seven points from play, John McCaffrey accounting for five of those and Shane Durkan two.
They scored seven points in succession either side of the half-time interval to put themselves into a strong position but they were unable to carry it on from there as Offaly really got stuck in and fought for everything. The defence crowded out the Dublin attackers and they found a bit more room in attack to pick off points themselves.
The game got off to a lightning start with two goals in the first four minutes. Liam Rushe was first off the mark for Dublin in the second minute but Offaly made a quick response and when a shot from Kevin Brady came off the crossbar, Joe Bergin was on hand to put the rebound in the net.
Offaly held the first-half advantage after that and when Shane Dooley goaled after 22 minutes they were five points clear.
However Dublin finished the half strongly with points from Peter Kelly, John McCaffrey, Liam Ryan and Stephen Hiney to go in level at half-time, 2-9 to 1-12.
Alan McCrabbe scored three points in the first five minutes of the second half to put Dublin in front. But Offaly took over from there. Shane Dooley crashed home his second goal after 14 minutes and he showed deadly accuracy from placed balls to add to points from Joe Bergin, Joe Brady and Brian Carroll to give Offaly an impressive win.
OFFALY: B Mullins; J Rigney, D Kenny, M. Verney; D Hayden, P Cleary, D Morkan; C Mahon, R. Hanniffy; D Molloy (0-2), K Brady, D Currams (0-1); S Dooley (2-10, six frees, 0-3 ‘65s’), J Bergin (1-2), B Carroll (0-3). Subs: G Oakley for Hayden (43 mins); J Brady (0-1) for Brady (46); G Healion for Currams (71); D Franks for Rigney (73).
DUBLIN: G Maguire; N Corcoran, T Brady, O Gough; J Boland, S Hiney (0-1), M O’Brien; J McCaffrey (0-6, one ‘65’), S Durkan (0-2); P Kelly (0-1), L Rushe (1-0), L Ryan (0-2); D O’Callaghan, D Treacy (0-1), A McCrabbe (0-5, four frees). Subs: R Treanor for Gough (51 mins); K Flynn for Ryan (53 mins); J Kelly for O’Callaghan (58 mins); R Fallon for Treacy (61 mins).
Referee: A Stapleton (Laois).
Irish Times – 15th March