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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