Cathal Kiely proved the hero for Offaly as his personal tally of 0-20 helped the Faithful County to dispatch Dublin by the bare minimum after extra time in their Bord Gáis Energy Leinster U20 Hurling Championship quarter-final at Parnell Park last night.
The scoring initially was dominated by the respective free-takers, with Dublin’s Cian Derwin landing his first three attempts, while Offaly’s Kiely was similarly impeccable as he converted a trio of placed balls.
The hosts were jittery to a degree in the early stages, with Offaly far more assured, having already enjoyed two championship wins — but their confidence was dealt a blow as Billy Ryan fired a superb goal home in the 11th minute following an astute pass from Sean Currie.
Dublin added to their lead through a brace of points from play by Derwin, but the longer the half continued, the more Offaly’s greater physicality and aerial ability began to take hold, with the metronomic Kiely keeping his side in the hunt. Dublin’s forwards were struggling as a unit, with their scores coming through half-backs Kevin Burke and Iain Ó hEithir, while midfielder Michael Conroy also found the target after a surge down the middle.
However, their advantage was whittled down to just two points by the break (1-11 to 0-12) with Kiely’s excellence manifesting itself in nine first-half points. The second half continued in a similar vein, of equality with Kiely scoring five points in the third quarter, while Kevin Desmond replied with a brace of scores to complement further efforts by Luke McDwyer, Ryan, and Diarmuid Ó Floinn.
David Keogh’s dismissal for Dublin in the 47th minute appeared a massive blow for the hosts, but a Derwin free deep into injury time ensured a 1-21 to 0-24 stalemate at full time. Goals from Conor Quinn and Matthew Dunne cancelled each other out before John Murphy landed the decisive score with the last puck of the ball.
Scorers for Offaly: C Kiely 0-20 (15f, 2 ’65’), C Langton 0-4, C Quinn 1-0 J Murphy (1f) 0-2, R Hogan, K Sampson, D Nally 0-1 each.
Scorers for Dublin: C Derwin 0-16 (13f), B Ryan 1-2, M Dunne 1-0, K Desmond 0-2, K Burke, I Ó hEithir, D Ó Floinn, L McDwyer, L Murphy 0-1 each.
E Cleary; D Maher, C Burke, C Butler; R Hogan, R Ravenhill, K Sampson; D Nally, J Keenaghan; C Kiely, B Kealey, B Duignan; J Murphy, C Ryan, C Langton.
Subs: C Quinn for Ryan (52), L Kavanagh for Nally (75), C Brady for Duignan (80).
C O’Donoghue; A Dunphy, T Kinnane, J Fagan; K Burke, L Gannon, I Ó hEithir; M Conroy, D Keogh; C Derwin, L McDwyer, D Ó Floinn; K Desmond, S Currie, B Ryan.
Subs: E Carney for Fagan (h-t), P Christie for Conroy (42), L Murphy for Desmond (53), A O’Neill for Ó hEithir (58), M Dunne for Currie (62), C Hogan for McDwyer (69). J O’Connell for Ryan (78).
Justin Heffernan (Wexford).