Embarrassing Offaly thrashed as Dublin refuse to take foot off the pedal

Dublin 4-21 Offaly 2-6

Yes, Offaly were missing a catalogue of players through injury, flu and football commitments. And yes, that included Brian Whelehan, Rory Hanniffy, Colm Cassidy, Ger Oakley and Neville Coughlan.

But Dublin could point to a similar missing person's list that included the likes of Keith Wilson at the back, Kevin Flynn in the middle and Shane Martin up front.

The simple fact is, Offaly gave the term second-rate a bad name. Even the basics were beyond them. Catching, striking, marking all were tasks far above their capacity for most of the game. As for fighting spirit and a bit of pride? Don't even go there.

That said, Dublin's performance was a joy to behold. Confident, assured and capable, Humphrey Kelleher's side never took their foot off the throttle and harried and harassed Offaly for the entire 75-odd minutes.

Curiously, Offaly were 0-4 to 0-2 ahead 10 minutes in, but that was as good as it got. By the next 10 minute marker Dublin had attached an extra 2-5 to their tally with Liam Ryan and Conal Keaney from a 22-metre free accounting for the three-pointers.

By half-time the lead was 2-8 to 0-5. It could have been a whole lot worse too. Four times in seven minutes before the break, Offaly's goal led a charmed life with keeper Brian Mullins saving twice and fresh-airing high dropping balls on another two occasions before being rescued by his defence.

The carnage had only been suspended, not ended, though. Ten minutes into the second-half Keaney had fired over four more points he would end the day with 1-7 to his name.

Even at that early stage, it was all academic with Offaly displaying as much life as an anaemic tortoise. Damien Murray and Conor Gath's goals 23 minutes apart - raised nothing but some ironic cheers and even they were cancelled out by a pair of goals from Dublin's impressive full-forward David Donnelly.

Offaly now face the prospect of Division Two hurling next spring unless they can come away with a win against neighbours Laois in Birr next weekend. Not exactly the situation you'd wish for Kilkenny's likely Leinster final opponents later this summer.

SCORERS: Dublin: C Keaney 107 (1-5f), D Donnelly 2-2, R Fallon 0-4 (2f), D Curtin 0-2f, M Carton 0-1, C Meehan 0-1, S Mullan 0-1, J McGuirk 0-1, L Ryan 0-1. Offaly: D Murray 1-2 (2f), C Gath 1-0, B Carroll 0-1, S Whelahan 0-1, D Hayden 0-1.

DUBLIN: G Maguire; D Spain, S Perkins, S Daly; A de Paor, C Keaney, K Ryan; C Meehan, S Hiney; D Curtin, R Fallon, T Moore; L Ryan, D Donnelly, M Carton. Subs: A Glennon for D Curtin 17, S Mullan for A Glennon 55, J McGuirk for C Keaney 57, MM Breathnach for L Ryan 62, C O'Brien for A de Paor 68.

OFFALY: B Mullins; M O'Hara, B Buckley, D Franks; N Claffey, P Whelan, K Brady; N Mannion, M Cordial; B Carroll, G Hanniffy, D Hayden; S Whelahan, J Brady, D Murray. Subs: C Gath for Mannion 35, A McRedmond for Whelan 35, S O'Connor for Mullins 49.

REFEREE: D Richardson (Limerick)

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