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Offaly Go Back 2 Back

May 22nd, 2024


Kevin Egan for GAA.ie at Laois Hire O’Moore Park

After suffering All-Ireland final defeats to Tipperary in the 2022 minor decider and against Cork in last year’s U-20 championship, Offaly will get the chance to avenge one of those two defeats in this year’s final after they just about overcame Dublin in a chaotic Leinster final this evening.

With the 15,215 crowd almost exclusively filled with Offaly supporters, there was an element of the team feeding off the energy of what was a sensational O’Moore Park atmosphere, even though both teams will feel that they made more errors than they would have liked.

In the end, another scoring masterclass from Adam Screeney and an immense performance from fellow senior panellist Dan Bourke proved to be the crucial difference between the sides, though a late goal from Conn Rock – after Offaly supporters had prematurely flooded the pitch – set up an incredible tense and dramatic final minute.

Over the course of the hour, Offaly just about deserved their win, but Dublin made a fair effort of quietening the crowd and upsetting the odds in the early exchanges, when they moved out to an 0-5 to 0-2 lead.

Neil Hogan and Diarmaid Ó Dúlaing were excellent along the spine of the Dublin attack but the real star of the show was sweeper Brendan Kenny, who read the game superbly, picked off two first half points of his own and was the launch pad for a host of Dublin attacks.

Gradually Offaly’s tenacity began to turn the tide, particularly at midfield where Colin Spain and Cathal King were dominant in the trenches, and once Shane Rigney fielded a line ball from Spain and slammed it to the net. They powered on to lead by 1-7 to 0-8 at half-time.

The Faithful had enough chances to put Dublin away early in the second half but wides – from both sides – were a feature of a game where the swirling breeze really tested shooters at both ends of the ground.

In Screeney and Bourke, Offaly had the two players who seemed most untroubled by the wind and once Liam Hoare came up with his second penalty save in a week, this time parrying a Diarmaid Ó Dúlaing effort out for a 65, Offaly looked like they might cruise on and win well.

The younger members of the crowd struggled to contain their enthusiasm however and after one pitch invasion that greeted Dan Bourke’s free to make it 1-18 to 0-15, it took nearly two minutes to clear the pitch.

That break shook Offaly’s momentum and after they failed to clear a long ball, Conn Rock pounced to pick up the loose ball and slam it to the net. There was still time for one more play, but Offaly did enough to defend the next hit and hope delivery to seal a famous victory.

Scorers for Offaly: Adam Screeney 0-9 (0-6f, 0-1 65), Shane Rigney 1-1, Dan Bourke 0-3, Colin Spain 0-1, Conor Doyle 0-1, Eoin Burke 0-1, Donal Shirley 0-1.

Scorers for Dublin: Diarmaid Ó Dúlaing 0-6 (0-2 65s, 0-2f), Neil Hogan 0-3, Brendan Kenny 0-3, Conn Rock 1-0, David Purcell 0-1, Conal Ó Riain 0-1, Jamie Conroy 0-1.

Offaly: Liam Hoare; Rúairí Kelly, Ben Miller, James Mahon; Ter Guinan, Brecon Kavanagh, Donal Shirley; Colin Spain, Cathal King; Shane Rigney, Dan Bourke, Conor Doyle; Alex Kavanagh, Barry Egan, Adam Screeney.

Subs: Leigh Kavanagh for Egan (36), Eoin Burke for A Kavanagh (43).

Dublin: Kevin Hogan; Conor Groarke, David Lucey, Cathal Kennedy; Eoin Keys, Conor Dolan, Brendan Kenny; Conal Ó Riain, Fionn Murphy; Jamie Conroy, Diarmaid Ó Dúlaing, Jack Behan; David Purcell, Neil Hogan, Ollie Gaffney.

Subs: Conor Newton for Murphy (30+1), Conn Rock for Hogan (47), Dylan Bannan for Keys (50).

Referee: Caymon Flynn (Westmeath).

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