Dublin were fresher, fitter and stronger than their hosts in Tullamore this afternoon as they eased to a 13-point victory in an otherwise uninspiring tie in front of just over 1,000 supporters.
Mattie Kenny’s side will face a significant step up in terms of the scale of the challenge facing them in a fortnight when they travel to Salthill to face Galway, but he’ll certainly be pleased with the form of corner forward duo Oisín O’Rorke and Donal Burke, who ran riot in this game.
O’Rorke will capture a lot of the headlines with two goals, one in each half, but it was the sharpness of DCU student Donal Burke that arguably caught the eye even more for the small number of supporters that travelled to Bord na Móna O’Connor Park. On a day when both sides were guilty of some erratic shooting, failing to make the most of their chances for long spells, Burke led the way with a wonderful display of point taking; not to mention playing a key role in setting up O’Rorke’s opening goal after 11 minutes.
He burst down the left flank and after Paddy Rigney prevented him from getting his shot away, he succeeded in working the ball across to O’Rorke, who found space and had all the time in the world to place the sliothar into the bottom corner of Eoghan Cahill’s net.
Offaly had been in the game up to that point with Oisín Kelly and Kevin Connolly off the mark, leaving the scores tied at 0-2 each, but their attacking woes from last week continued for most of this game, and they now find themselves with just 0-19 to their credit after two games, with only Warwickshire having scored less across all the divisions (out of those teams with two games played).
Seven first-half wides meant they trailed by 1-10 to 0-5 at the interval, and it could have been even worse had Eoghan Cahill not been able to save a meekly-struck penalty from Seán Moran in the 26 th minute.
The home side rallied at the start of the second half and a quick-fire point from Paddy Murphy, followed up with two long-range frees from Cahill, threatened to make a contest of it.
That only lasted until the 46th minute when Offaly’s half-back line was ripped open by yet another rampaging run from deep, this time from Fiontán McGibb, and with men over, Dublin were able to work the ball to O’Rorke for a decisive second goal, ushering in a pedestrian final third in which Dublin never caught fire, but never really had to.
Scorers Dublin: O O’Rorke 2-3, D Burke 0-6, J Hetherton 0-3 (0-2f), D Treacy (0-1f) & F Whitely 0-2 each, L Rushe, S Moran & D Sutcliffe 0-1 each.
Offaly: E Cahill & K Connolly 0-3f each, P Murphy 0-2, O Kelly, C Gath, D Egan, K Dunne 0-1 each.
Dublin: A Nolan; C O’Callaghan, E O’Donnell, P Smyth; C Crummey, S Moran, S Barrett; S Treacy, D O’Connell; D Treacy. D Sutcliffe, R McBride; D Burke, L Rushe, O O’Rorke.
Subs: E Dillon for Rushe (26), J Malone for S Treacy (27), F McGibb for Barrett (HT), J Hetherton for D Treacy, F Whitely for McBride (57)
Offaly: E Cahill; T Spain, N Houlihan, P Rigney; A Treacy, E Grogan, C Taylor; K Dunne, M Egan; D Egan, P Murphy, C Egan; C Gath, O Kelly, K Connolly.
Subs: A Flynn for Taylor (35), L Langton for Mark Egan (half time), S Dolan for Gath (50), E Parlon for Murphy (60)
Referee: J Keenan (Wicklow)