Offaly snatch draw with late points

Galway 2-19 Offaly 3-16

Galway 2-19 Offaly 3-16

A riveting Leinster SHC semi-final ended level at Croke Park after Shane Dooley stepped up to the mark with two late points to earn a replay for a courageous Offaly side.

The Faithful County had threatened to shock pre-match favourites Galway after a first half goal rush saw them go seven points clear.

But the Tribesmen hit the net twice in the second half, and nudged ahead in the closing stages, before Dooley set up next Sunday’s rematch with a long-range free in stoppage time.

In front of a crowd of 25,260, Damien Hayes, Ger Farragher (2) and Iarla Tannion were on target in the early stages as Galway eased into a 0-4 to 0-0 lead.

But Offaly soon got into their stride and made it clear that they intended to make a nonsense of the pre-match predictions of a comfortable Tribal win.

They stunned the men from the West with three goals to take a grip on the game.

Shane Dooley cut in front the right, and when his shot was blocked, Joe Brady finished to the net in the 12th minute.

Offaly added points through Brian Carroll and Joe Bergin, before Shane Dooley grabbed a second goal on 20 minutes, turning his marker to finish with an angled shot past Colm Callinan.

Joe Canning finally hit his first point from play in the25th minute, but less than a minute later, Offaly grabbed a third goal.

Full back Paul Cleary’s searching clearance fell to Bergin, who rounded Shane Kavanagh to slot past Colm Callanan for a 3-4 to 0-7 lead.

Dylan Hayden and Brady swapped points with Farragher and Aongus Callinan late in the half, and Offaly turned around with a 3-7 to 0-11 lead.

But Galway made a devastating start to the second half. Farragher and substitute Niall Healy cut the deficit to three within two minutes of the restart.

The came a 2-2 salvo in the space of four minutes. Cyril Donnellan knocked the ball back to Canning to smash to the net, and it was Farragher who finished to the net after Aongus Callanan’s shot had been kept out by James Dempsey.

Offaly were reduced to 14 men when substitute Daniel Currams received a straight red card for a challenge on David Burke in the 46th minute, but they scored the next three points, through Dooley, Dylan Hayden and Bergin, to narrow the gap to a point.

There was nothing to separate the sides as they headed for a gripping final quarter, with Canning, for the second time, scoring exquisitely from a sideline cut, only to see Rory Hannify and Dooley bring the sides level.

Canning’s long range effort, and a second for Tannion, eased the Connacht side two clear in the dying moments, but Dooley emerged as the saviour, bringing his tally to 1-7.

Galway: C Callanan, D Joyce, S Kavanagh, O Canning, D Barry, T Óg Regan (0-1), D Collins, G Farragher (1-5 (0-2f, 0-1 ’65), D Burke (0-2), D Hayes (0-2), C Donnellan, A Callanan (0-1), A Harte, J Canning (1-5, 0-1f, 0-2 s/l), I Tannian (0-2).

Subs: J Lee for Barry, N Healy (0-1) for Harte, K Hynes for Donnellan, J Gantley for Hynes

Offaly: J Dempsey, D Franks, P Cleary, J Rigney, S Egan, D Kenny, D Moran, D Hayden (0-2), K Brady, B Carroll (0-2), J Brady (1-1), R Hanniffy (0-1), D Molloy (0-1), J Bergin (1-2), S Dooley (1-7 (0-6f).

Subs: D Currams for Molloy, B Murphy for Brady, G Helion for J Brady, O Kealey for Carroll

Referee: J Ryan (Tipperary)

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