John Troy’s Offaly charges were still plying their trade at junior level three years ago but under Joachim Kelly’s stewardship, they won the championship that season and followed up with intermediate honours the following season.
After a year of consolidation, they have flourished through the knockout stages and showed great courage to edge out a valiant Dublin in a terrific match played in front of a good crowd at Parnell Park.
They looked in trouble approaching half time, With Elaine Dermody in typically high-scoring form, they still trailed the hosts by seven points at 1-8 to 0-4.
Mairi Moynihan’s sixth minute goal was the perfect start for the Dubs.
But Offaly struck for seven successive scores, with Dermody’s 38th minute penalty goal putting them in front for the first time.
She finished with 1-7, and with Michaela Morkan (0-3) and Siobhán Flannery (0-2) providing ample support.
Offaly had built up a vital four-point cushion when Moynihan struck for her second goal deep in injury time to leave it 1-13 to 2-9.
Cork and Clare have been involved in some titanic tussles this year and Páirc Uí Chaoimh hosted another, with the home team prevailing 1-10 to 0-10.
There was never very much between the teams as Chloe Morey tagged on six points for Clare, with Fiona Lafferty and Claire McMahon also getting on the mark.
The key score though was Katrina Mackey’s goal early in the second half and she added two points.
Jenny O’Leary notched four points as Cork kept their noses in front all the way to the finish.
Clare tried very hard in the in the final quarter but their efforts were to no avail.