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Galway make light work of toothless Offaly to book last four date with Kilkenny

Seán Blehane, Cianan Fahy and Evan Niland were among the standout performers for the Tribesmen in Tullamore this evening.

Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Galway 1-20
Offaly 0-8

Kevin Egan reports from Tullamore

GALWAY’S FIRST-EVER Leinster U21 hurling championship campaign got out to a comfortable start this evening as they breezed past a lacklustre Offaly challenge in Tullamore, holding the Faithful men to just three points from play, two of which were scored in the final minutes.

What little life and competitiveness there was in Offaly was seen in the first quarter when they hurled well defensively and got some good ball up to their forward division, but a return of two points from seven good scoring chances hurt them as Galway moved into a 0-6 to 0-2 lead.

The Tribesmen gradually picked up the pace and with their half-forward line dominant, Sean Blehane and Cianan Fahy outshone senior star Brian Concannon with three points each from play, which moved the visitors into a 0-11 to 0-4 lead at the break.

With wind advantage to come, Offaly weren’t yet at the point where they could be completely written out of contention, but they remained utterly toothless up front after half-time, as Galway slowly moved out of range with a series of scores, mostly from Evan Niland frees.

Senior player Oisin Kelly had endured a difficult game and he let his frustration get the better of him with 12 minutes to play, drawing a red card for his criticism of referee David Hughes, but Galway still didn’t really feel the need to push on, popping over points before Sean Loftus finally drew the game’s only green flag with an inch-perfect low finish from a very tight angle.

Evan Niland scores a point Galway's Evan Niland. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Cathal O’Brien and Eoin Woods picked off late points for Offaly as they attempted to take the incredibly bare look off their side of the scoreboard, while Jack Canning fired over a late point for the Tribesmen to round off the scoring in advance of their return trip to this venue next Wednesday to take on Kilkenny in the semi-final.

Scorers for Galway: Evan Niland 0-9 (0-8f), Sean Loftus 1-2, Cianan Fahy 0-4 (0-1f), Sean Blehane 0-3, Brian Concannon, Jack Canning 0-1 each

Scorers for Offaly: Brian Duignan 0-5 (0-4f, 0-1 ’65), Wayne Mooney, Cathal O’Brien, Eoin Woods 0-1 each.

Galway

1. Eanna Murphy (Tommy Larkins)

2. Shane Bannon (Clarinbridge)
3. Fintan Burke (St. Thomas)
4. Ian O’Shea (Athenry)

5. Caelom Mulry (Abbeyknockmoy)
6. Mark Hughes (Liam Mellows)
7. Sean Loftus (Turloughmore)

8. Tomas Monaghan (Craughwell)
9. Jack Grealish (Gort)

10. Sean Blehane (Ahascragh-Fohenagh)
11. Brian Concannon (Killimordaly)
12. Cianan Fahy (Ardrahan)

13. Ronan Murphy (Tommy Larkins)
14. Evan Niland (Clarinbridge)
15. Kevin Cooney (Sarsfields)

Subs:

21. Cian Salmon (Clarinbridge) for Murphy (45)
20. Jack Canning (Portumna) for Cooney (45)
25. Andrew Greaney (Craughwell) for O’Shea (52)
19. Conor Caulfield (Kilconieran) for Mulry (52)
22. Liam Forde (Ardrahan) for Blehane (56)

Offaly

1. Eoghan Cahill (Birr)

2. Dylan Watkins (Birr)
3. Michael Gilligan (Seir Kieran)
4. Cathal O’Meara (Clara)

5. Ross Connaughton (Carrig & Riverstown)
6. Ben Conneely (St. Rynagh’s)
7. Cathal O’Brien (Shamrocks)

8. Paddy Delaney (Kinnitty)
9. Joe Keenaghan (Clodiagh Gaels)

10. Wayne Mooney (Shamrocks)
11. Oisin Kelly (Belmont)
12. Liam Langton (Clodiagh Gaels)

13. Brian Duignan (Ballinamere)
14. David Buckley (Clodiagh Gaels)
15. Conor Langton (Clodiagh Gaels)

Subs:

22. Joe Maher (Ballinamere) for Connaughton (HT)
17. Ciarán Cleary (Shinrone) for Mooney (45)
20. Eoghan Callaghan (Kinnitty) for C Langton (45)
21. Eimhin Kelly (Lusmagh) for L Langton (46)
23. Eoin Woods (St. Rynagh’s) for Duignan (52)

Referee: David Hughes (Carlow)

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Kevin Egan

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