Allianz Hurling League Div 1B: Dublin 1-20 Offaly 2-16
Offaly made Dublin sweat for a 1-20 to 2-16 victory in a nervy finish to this Allianz League Division 1B opener at Parnell Park..
Paul Ryan scored six first half points as the hosts led by 0-11 to 0-06 at the interval.
Dublin continued to hold the lead on the restart, but Shane Dooley’s 55th-minute goal lifted Offaly.
Danny Sutcliffe responded immediately with a goal but Dooley netted again to give the visitors further hope. However, Dublin worked hard to claim their first points on the competition’s opening night.
Dublin manager Anthony Daly handed league debuts to Kevin Byrne and Mark Schutte. Byrne turned in an excellent display and chipped in with a well-struck long range point in the second half.
Offaly boss Ollie Baker was forced into a late personnel change after captain David Kenny failed a fitness test. Sean Gardiner stepped in for his first league start.
Daly had spoken in midweek of Dublin's near misses last year's Division 1 campaign, but tonight the Metropolitans got the rub of the green as they were on the right side of a tight result
The teams were tied on three occasions inside the opening quarter, with Ryan, Joey Boland and Sutcliffe on target for Dublin, while Dooley and Joe Bergin claimed the Offaly scores.
Conal Keaney put in a super shift for Dublin over the course of the 70 minutes, and opened his account in the 17th minute to put the hosts back in front.
The Ballyboden St. Enda's clubman gave Dublin a lead they would not relinquish as they began to get on top in all sectors.
Dublin pushed 0-09 to 0-04 ahead on 29 minutes, after three points in a row from sharpshooter Ryan, Offaly's backs coming under sustained pressure at this stage.
James Mulrooney snatched Offaly's first score in eight minutes as the interval approached, but Dublin finished strongly as scores from Ryan and McCaffrey helped them led by 0-11 to 0-06.
Dublin continued to stay on top in the early stages of the second half, but struggled to make their dominance count on the scoreboard.
Conor McCormack fired Dublin into a double scores lead inside 30 seconds, but despite sustained pressure on the Offaly defence, the hosts found it difficult to add to their tally.
Sutcliffe, McCormack and Keaney all struck wides before Keaney bagged the second score of the second half for the hosts.
Offaly were certainly finding it hard at this juncture with McCormack's move into the half-forward line proving effective, and Dermot Mooney under increasing pressure.
McCaffrey hit Dublin's fourth wide before Shane Dooley cut the deficit to 0-13 to 0-8 with 25 minutes remaining.
Dublin suddenly found their accuracy in front of the posts with quick scores from McCormack and Keaney. Offaly responded with a trio of unanswered scores between the 48th and 52nd minutes.
The visitors cut the gap to four points by the end of the third quarter, following scores from Dooley (0-02) and Brian Carroll, with Carroll sending over a fine score from play after a well-placed pass from Joe Bergin.
Keaney replied for the Dubs but Offaly were not finished yet. Cathal Parlon cut in from midfield and despite his initiall point attempt being half blocked, Dooley latched onto the ball to snatch a 55th minute goal and make it a two-point game.
But once again Dublin offered a firm response, with Sutcliffe immediately responding with a goal at the opposite end, following good work by McCaffrey.
Dublin moved six points clear as Byrne showed great pace and power to point from distance. Parlon and Sutcliffe traded points before the visitors notched their second goal. Dublin goalkeeper Gary Maguire failed to stop a powerful 21-metre free from Dooley.
Parlon bagged his second point of the half to put just two between the sides with eight minutes remaining. Little separated them in the closing stages, but despite the accuracy of Dooley from placed balls time ran out on the Faithfuls’ comeback bid
Scorers - Dublin: P Ryan 0-07, C Keaney 0-05, D Sutcliffe 1-02, C McCormack 0-03, J Boland, K Byrne, J McCaffrey 0-01 each
Offaly: S Dooley 2-09, J Bergin, C Parlon 0-02 each, R Hanniffy, B Carroll, J Mulrooney 0-01 each
DUBLIN: G Maguire; P Kelly, P Schutte, R Trainor; M Carton, L Rushe, S Durkin; J Boland, K Byrne; C Keaney, J McCaffrey, D Sutcliffe; P Ryan, C McCormack, M Schutte.
Subs used: D Treacy for M Schutte (56 mins), N Corcoran for P Schutte (58), D O'Callaghan for Sutcliffe (65)
OFFALY: J Dempsey; C McDonald, S Gardiner, D King; D Mooney, K Brady, D Morkan; R Hanniffy, S Ryan; B Carroll, J Bergin, C Parlon; S Dooley, J Mulrooney, O Kealey.
Subs used: T Carroll for Ryan (52 mins), D Molloy for Carroll (65).
Referee: James McGrath (Westmeath)