By Paul Keane
Offaly 2-25 Dublin 1-15: Talisman forward Shane Dooley crowned his 100th Offaly appearance with 1-5 as the Faithful County pulled off a surprise Allianz hurling league win.
Dublin were hot favourites to get the Pat Gilroy era off to a winning start in Division 1B at Croke Park.
But they trailed for the majority of the evening as Kevin Martin began his own reign in Offaly with an unlikely 13-point win.
It’s Offaly’s first competitive win at GAA Headquarters in 13 years and they will fancy their chances ahead of next weekend’s Round 2 clash with Limerick.
Offaly only managed one win in last year’s 1B campaign, against Kerry, but looked determined to get Martin’s reign off to a flier and had nine different scorers overall.
Liam Langton was among them and wrapped up the win with a 66th minute goal shortly after entering the fray.
Free-taker Joe Bergin fired six points too while Oisin Kelly was named Man of the Match with a strong display from corner-forward that yielded 0-3.
The sides were level twice early on up to 0-3 apiece before Offaly pulled clear to lead by 0-10 to 0-6.
Dublin wiped out that deficit with 1-1 inside 90 seconds including a well taken 25th minute Paul Winters goal after a great run down the right by Shane Barrett.
But Offaly’s response was emphatic as they picked off five points without reply and deservedly led by 0-16 to 1-8 at the break.
They stretched the gap to seven when Dooley converted a 40th minute penalty after Bill O’Carroll’s haul down of Conor Mahon.
Subs Niall McMorrow and John Hetherton picked off scores for Dublin but the Sky Blues never looked like reeling in the rampant visitors.
Colin Egan and Dooley kept the scoreboard ticking over with Offaly points before they closed out the match with 1-4 including Langton’s excellent goal.
Conal Keaney did make his return after three years out for a Dublin side missing the likes of Liam Rushe, Joey Boland, Peter Kelly and Danny Sutcliffe for various reasons.
Former football chief Gilroy also got the chance to hand first league starts to eight players though he will demand an improved display in Antrim next weekend.
Scorers for Offaly: S. Dooley (1-5, 1-0pen, 0-5f), J. Bergin (0-6, 0-6f), L. Langton (1-0), C. Egan, S. Kinsella, O. Kelly (0-1 s/l) (0-3 each), D. Currams, D. Egan (0-2 each), D. Shortt (0-1).
Scorers for Dublin: D. Burke 0-6 (0-5f); S. Barrett (1-0); A. Moore (0-2); C. Crummey, P. Winters, F. Whitely, E. Dillon, N. McMorrow, J. Hetherton, R. Smith (0-1 each).
Offaly: C. Slevin; T. Spain, S. Gardiner, B. Conneely; P. Delaney, P. Camon, D. Shortt; D. King, S. Kinsella; J. Bergin, C. Egan, D. Egan; O. Kelly, C. Mahon, D. Currams.
Subs: S. Dooley for Bergin (h/t); T. Geraghty for C Egan (53); L. Langton for Mahon (63); D. O’Toole for Conneely (71); D. Doughan for Delaney (73).
Dublin: A. Nolan; P. Smyth, B. O’Carroll, C. Hendricken; S. Barrett, C. McBride, C. Crummey; J. McCaffrey, T. Connolly; R. Smith, F. Whitely, D. Burke; A. Moore, P. Winters, F. O Riain Broin.
Subs: E. Dillon for O Riain Broin (24); D. Kelly for McBride (35-h/t); N. McMorrow for McCaffrey (43); C. Keaney for Moore (47); J. Hetherton for Winters (54); J. Madden for Hendricken (66).
Ref: P. O’Dwyer (Carlow).