Limerick 1-25 Offaly 3-15
By Jackie Cahill at the Gaelic Grounds, Limerick
Not even the sharpshooting skills of Shane Dooley could prevent a third successive defeat for Offaly in Division 1B of the Allianz Hurling League this evening.
Dooley shot 2-11 – including 1-9 in the first half – but Limerick kept their slim promotion hopes alive with a crucial win.
Offaly have made a habit of making life difficult for Limerick in recent seasons and so it was again.
They bagged two goals in a minute during the second half – Dooley and Oisín Kelly on target – but Limerick hit seven of the remaining nine points on offer.
Offaly had the numerical advantage from the 33rd minute but they couldn’t make it count.
Fitzgibbon’s dismissal – for a wild overhead pull on Conor Doughan – had Limerick on the back foot approaching the break.
Having played against the breeze in the opening half, Limerick trailed by 0-14 to 1-13 at the break, despite hitting the first six points of the game.
Offaly responded with four Dooley frees to settle and they were level at 1-9 to 0-12 when the Tullamore hitman netted in the 27th minute.
Dooley saw his initial 20m free blocked but after Limerick failed to clear and the ball was recycled across the face of goal, the prolific forward found the net from close range.
Doughan’s point handed Offaly the lead for the first time, before Dooley and Cillian Kiely added further points.
Another Dooley free had Offaly four clear but Limerick remained in touch with points from their leading scorer Ronan Lynch (free) and Gearoid Hegarty in first half stoppage time.
Andrew La Touche Cosgrave netted early in the second half to provide Limerick with a tonic but they had to recover from the concession of goals to Dooley and Kelly in the 50th and 51st minutes before sealing a merited win.
Scorers for Limerick: R Lynch 0-11 (10f), A La Touche Cosgrave 1-1, G Hegarty 0-3, P Ryan & J Ryan 0-2 each, D Byrnes, J Fitzgibbon, D Dempsey, S Tobin, D O’Donovan & G Mulcahy 0-1 each.
Scorers for Offaly: S Dooley 2-11 (0-8f, 0-1 sl), O Kelly 1-0, C Doughan 0-2, C Kiely & E Nolan 0-1 each.
Limerick: D McCarthy; S Finn, R McCarthy, M Casey; S Hickey, D Byrnes, D Hannon; P Ryan, J Fitzgibbon; G Hegarty, D Dempsey, J Ryan; A La Touche Cosgrave, R Lynch, S Tobin.
Subs: D O’Donovan for P Ryan (55), G Mulcahy for Tobin (57), S Cahill for Finn (61), A Dempsey for La Touche Cosgrave (64).
Offaly: J Dempsey; M Cleary, P Delaney, P Rigney; S Ryan, D Short, B Conneely; P Guinan, C Doughan; S Cleary, S Dooley, O Kelly; E Nolan, C Kiely, P Geraghty.
Subs: D Morkan for Guinan (h.t.), A Cleary for Geraghty (49), J Mulrooney for Kiely (49), L Langton for Nolan (61), S Quirke for S Cleary (67).
Referee: Fergal Horgan (Tipperary)