Deadly Dooley’s late goal saves Offaly

SHANE DOOLEY’S 68th minute goal from a powerfully struck 20m free ensured that Offaly gained a draw with Clare in Saturday’s high- scoring challenge match to mark the official opening of Crinkill GAA grounds and also saw Gerry Quinn’s return to the Banner fold.

Breeze assisted Clare, with John Conlon deployed as an extra defender during the opening quarter, dictated proceedings and by half-time they led 0-14 to 0-6.

Offaly hoisted over eight unanswered points at the start of the second half to draw level. However, inspirational scores by half-backs Pat Donnellan and Pat O’Connor (free) helped Clare regain the initiative.

The steam appeared to be gone out of Offaly’s revival when they slipped four points behind again, 0-18 to 0-22, after 63 minutes, but Dooley grabbed 1-1, bringing his tally to 1-10, as they salvaged a draw.

With Ger O’Loughlin’s Banner charges scheduled to face All-Ireland champions Tipperary on Sunday week in the Munster semi-final, a spectator with more than a passing interest was Tipp U21 manager Ken Hogan, who no doubt will be reporting to his senior counterpart Declan Ryan.

While it was a useful exercise, both counties picked up injuries. Offaly’s Michael Verney sustained a finger injury, while Clare centre-back Brendan Bugler went off in 41st minute with a leg injury. More positive news for Offaly was Joe Brady’s return and after Bugler’s departure, Gerry Quinn slotted in at left half back for Clare.

Conlon, Jonathan Clancy, Cormac O’Donovan and Donnellan impressed for the ‘Banner’ men, with Clancy flying it at midfield and embellishing his industry with five fabulous points.

Offaly, minus the services of James Rigney, Paul Cleary, David Franks, Rory Hanniffy, Brian Carroll, Joe Bergin and Brendan Murphy, relied heavily on Dooley for scores, but Daniel Currams, sub Tomas Carroll, Dylan Hayden and David Kenny figured prominently.

Scorers for Offaly: S Dooley (1-10, 1-6 frees & 0-1 ‘65), D Currams (0-3), T Carroll (0-2), C Parlon (0-1), C Mahon (0-1), D Molloy (0-1), J Mulrooney (0-1).

Clare: J Clancy (0-5), P Donnellan (0-3), C Ryan (0-3 frees), C O’Donovan (0-3), J Conlon (0-2), P O’Connor (0-2 frees), M Earley (0-1), C Chaplin (0-1), F Lynch (0-1), P Kelly (0-1).

OFFALY: J Dempsey; M Verney, D Kenny, B Mulrooney; D Hayden, E Murphy, D Morkan; J Mulrooney, D Currams; D Molloy, C Mahon, C Egan; S Dooley, G Healion, C Parlon.

Subs: S Egan for Verney inj (23), E Kelly for Dempsey, M Morkan for D Morkan, B Lonergan for C Egan, T Carroll for Healion (all half time), P Healion for Murphy, C McDonald for B Mulrooney (both 42 mins), J Brady for Parlon (57), E Murphy for Mahon (58).

CLARE: P Brennan; P Vaughan, J McInerney, C Cooney; P O’Connor, B Bugler, P Donnellan; J Clancy, M Earley; C O’Donovan, C Chaplin, F Lynch; J Conlon, C Morey, C Ryan.

Subs: E Glynn for Vaughan, C Dillon for Earley (both half time), G Quinn for Bugler (inj, 41), B Donnellan for Conlon (52), J Gunning for Cooney, P Kelly for Lynch, D Tuohy for P Brennan (all 54).

Referee: D Cooke, Crinkill.

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