Goals secure win for Offaly

Offaly 2-12 Laois 0-08

Offaly 2-12 Laois 0-08

Goals from Aidan Hanrahan and Joe Bergin steered Offaly to a Leinster SHC quarter-final win over Laois at a sodden O’Moore Park today.

Hanrahan (3 minutes) and Bergin (22) both found Patrick Mullaney’s net as the Faithfuls earned a 12th consecutive championship win over their neighbours.

In front of 4,761 spectators, Offaly led 2-07 to 0-04 at the break with Laois living off James Young frees. David Cuddy and Joe Phelan also got off the mark for Laois, but the gulf in class was telling.

With their passage through to a last-four clash with Wexford sealed, Offaly brought Brian Whelehan on for the closing stages.

In weather Laois boss Dinny Cahill described as “the worst conditions” he had ever seen for a game of hurling, Offaly had burst into a 1-01 to no score lead by the eleventh-minute.

Corner forward Hanrahan slotted home his goal and Coolderry ace Brian Carroll, who top-scored with 0-05 (4f), launched over his first free. Laois talisman Young replied with the first of his four frees, but Carroll snuck over his second in reply.

A second Offaly goal should have followed when a mis-hit free from Michael Cordial found Hanrahan’s stick but his close range shot squirmed wide of a Laois upright.

After two misses from Young, teenage terror Bergin, who was only a minor last year, did net Offaly’s second major. Laois closed out the half with two points – one from Sean Lowry and the other a Young free. But just before the half time whistle, the Faithfuls snuck in three in a row from Garry Hanniffy, Carroll and Mick O’Hara to push 2-07 to 0-04 clear.

Hanrahan, skipper Brendan Murphy and Carroll added to Offaly’s tally as they ended the third quarter 2-10 to 0-06 in front. Young added a couple of frees to keep the O’Moore men in touch but the result was never in doubt.

Laois’ lack of firepower was not helped by Rory Hanniffy’s superlative display at centre back as he mopped up everything that fell his way.

Hanniffy was joined at Offaly's rear by legendary Birr defender Whelehan, who came on to the biggest cheer of the afternoon.

Points from substitutes Alan Egan and Dylan Hayden ending what Offaly manager John McIntyre termed “a business-like performance.” Wexford are up next at Nowlan Park on June 11.

OFFALY: B Mullins; B Teehan, P Cleary, D Franks; K Brady, R Hanniffy, D Tanner; G Hanniffy (0-01), G Oakley; M Cordial, M O’Hara (0-01), B Murphy (0-01), B Carroll (0-05 (4f)), J Bergin (1-01), A Hanrahan (1-01).

Subs used: D Hayden (0-01) for G Hanniffy (25-30 mins), D Hayden for O’Hara (59), A Egan (0-01) for Carroll (62), B Whelehan for Cordial (64), B O’Meara for Franks (64), D Hoctor for Oakley (66).

LAOIS: P Mullaney; B Campion, Packie Cuddy, C Healy; J Fitzpatrick, M McEvoy, J Hyland; J Phelan (0-01), J Young (0-04 (4f)); P Russell, D Rooney, S Dwyer; J Hooban, Paul Cuddy, S Lowry (0-01).

Subs used: D Cuddy (0-01) for Russell (inj) (5 mins), A Delaney for Campion (23), D Culleton for Dwyer (half time), M Rooney for Hooban (43), Z Keenan (0-01) for Lowry (56).

Referee: Fergus Smith (Meath)

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