Win secures Championship hurling for Dubs

By Paul Keane

Dublin 2-24 Offaly 0-13

Captain Chris Crummey powered Dublin to a significant Leinster SHC win at Parnell Park which secures their status in the competition for 2019.

The wing-back boomed over four points and was involved in both of Dublin's goals which were scored by Paul Ryan and Fergal Whitely.

Shane Barrett also fired four points from the half-back line as Dublin overcame a sluggish start to speed clear and eventually win with 17 points to spare.

There was just two points between the teams after 30 minutes as Offaly, in action for the fourth weekend running, attempted to secure a win to avoid relegation.

But Kevin Martin's side were easily burned off after that and now face the spectre of Joe McDonagh Cup hurling in 2019.

As for Dublin, they play All-Ireland champions Galway in the final round next weekend though that tie is essentially a dead rubber affair now.

Offaly were in the Championship's last chance saloon and got contrasting news beforehand.

Ronan Hughes was cleared to participate having been red carded against Wexford and was named among the subs.

But that bench surprisingly included talisman Shane Dooley who was left out of the line-up.

Joe Bergin took over the frees from Dooley and struggled in the first-half, scoring three of the six that he took and he also had a second-half penalty saved by the excellent Alan Nolan.

The team struggled generally against a Dublin side that set up in orthodox fashion and Offaly registered just two points from play in the opening half.

Both of those came from Dan Currams though Offaly hung in there for half an hour and were just two points down at that stage, 0-7 to 0-5.

That was down to Dublin's wasteful play with the Metropolitans racking up 10 wides in the first 25 minutes and 13 in the half.

The hosts finally got their radar tuned in approaching the break and reeled off 1-3 without reply to open up a big lead.

There was a big turning point in the 30th minute when captain Crummey pointed for Dublin moments after an Offaly penalty appeal from Sean Ryan was waved away.

Dublin then reeled off 1-2 in blitzkrieg period in first-half stoppage time to lead 1-10 to 0-5.

Crummey was the provider for the goal when his long ball broke kindly off Whitely for Ryan to seize possession, spin away from his man and blast home.

Whitely netted himself in the 39th minute after another long ball from Crummey which was this time won by Liam Rushe and laid off.

Rushe, Jake Malone, Fiontan MacGib and Barrett added points and suddenly Dublin were well in the clear at 2-14 to 0-6 up.

Dooley's introduction added some quality to Offaly's attack but they needed goals and none arrived.

They were awarded a 50th minute penalty but Bergin's shot was brilliantly batted away by Nolan.

Wing-backs Barrett and Crummey finished with 0-08 between them for Dublin and sub Cian Boland weighed in with two eye catching late scores.

Scorers for Dublin: P Ryan 1-5 (0-4f), F Whitely 1-1, S Barrett 0-4, C Crummey 0-4, C Keaney 0-2, L Rushe 0-2, J Malone 0-2, C Boland 0-2, R McBride 0-1, F MacGib 0-1

Scorers for Offaly: J Bergin 0-4 (0-4f), D Currams 0-2, P Murphy 0-2, S Dooley 0-2 (0-2f), E Cahill 0-1 (1f), K Dunne 0-1, J Gorman 0-1.

Dublin: A. Nolan; P. Smyth, C. O'Callaghan, E. O'Donnell; C. Crummey, S. Moran, S. Barrett; R. McBride, J. Malone; F. MacGib, C. Keaney, D. Sutcliffe; F. Whitely, L. Rushe, P. Ryan.

Subs: C Boland for Whitely (51), T Connolly for McBride (55), D Treacy for Keaney (57), J McCaffrey for MacGib (63), P Winters for Rushe (64).

Offaly: E. Cahill; D. O'Toole Greene, B. Conneely, T. Spain; D. Shortt, P. Camon, D. King; D. Currams, D Egan; S Kinsella, C Egan, T Geraghty; S. Ryan, C. Mahon, J. Bergin.

Subs: S Dooley for Ryan (42), K Dunne for Kinsella (48), R Hughes for C Egan (48), P Murphy for D Egan (48), J Gorman for Bergin (55).

Ref: C. Lyons (Cork).

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