Coolderry boss wants clubs to back Baker

COOLDERRY manager Ken Hogan has urged everyone in Offaly to get behind new hurling supremo Ollie Baker after his side retained their title for the first time since 1962/’63 following a tension filled final in O’Connor Park, Tullamore yesterday.

“Ollie has taken over and I wish him the very best of luck,” he said.

“There are tremendous hurlers in Offaly and I hope a county final like today will bring Offaly forward in big strides and I think we should be positive.”

An injury-time goal by super sub Kevin Connolly ensured Coolderry captured their 29th crown as they withstood a concerted onslaught from Birr.

On four occasions, Coolderry enjoyed a cushion of eight points but Birr, backed by the second-half breeze, staged a gutsy revival and with eight minutes remaining they’d the gap reduced to the minimum, 0-16 to 1-14.

Dylan Hayden and Thomas Bolger spurned equalising opportunities and when Coolderry’s ace attacker Damien Murray, who’d already registered eight points, failed to properly rise a 60th minute free one sensed Birr were about to salvage an unlikely replay.

Coolderry’s influential centre-back Joe Brady then intercepted an offensive, swiftly picked out Cathal Parlon and when the sliotar reached Connolly, he showed deft skill and rifled a stunning strike to the twine.

Scores for Coolderry: D Murray 0-8 (4fs, 1 65), E Ryan 1-2, K Connolly 1-0, K Brady 0-2, B Teehan, C Parlon 0-1 each.

Scorers for Birr: T Bolger 0-8 (6fs), D Hayden 0-3, B Harding 0-2 (1f, 1 65), P Molloy, G Hanniffy, S Ryan 0-1 each.

COOLDERRY: S Corcoran; B Kelly, T Corcoran, A Corcoran; D King, J Brady, B O’Meara (capt); K Teehan, K Brady; B Carroll, B Teehan, M Corcoran; E Ryan, C Parlon, D Murray.

Subs: K Connolly for M Corcoran (50), B Larkin for B Kelly (55), M Bergin for A Corcoran (61).

BIRR: B Mullins; JP O’Meara, P Cleary, M Verney; N Rogers, B Harding, B Watkins; R Hanniffy, P Molloy; G Hanniffy, D Hayden (capt), B Whelahan; T Bolger, S Ryan, B Murphy.

Subs: B Lonergan for O’Meara (26), B Nolan for Murphy (42).

Referee: B Gavin (Clara).

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