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Welcome boost for Offaly hurling as U20s dump Dublin out of Leinster with dramatic extra-time win

Cathal Kiely fired over a stunning 20 points as Offaly advanced to the last four.

Offaly 1-29

Dublin 2-25

(After extra-time)

Kevin O’Brien reports from Parnell Park

11 DAYS AFTER the darkest day in Offaly hurling history with the senior team’s relegation to the Christy Ring Cup, their U20s pulled off a massive result by beating Dublin after extra-time in the Leinster quarter-final. 

John Murphy celebrates with friends after the game John Murphy celebrates with his club mates after the game. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

In what was looking like a disastrous summer for Offaly in the small ball code, this performance and victory was a welcome boost and provides a good deal of optimism for the future.

In front of vocal travelling support, Conor Quinn smahed in a crucial goal as the Faithful surged six clear after the wind-assisted first period of extra-time. Substitute Matthew Dunne rattled in a 74th-minute goal as Dublin scored an unanswered 1-3 in the second-half to move level at 2-25 to 1-28 with time almost up.

Offaly’s placed ball specialist Cathal Kiely had an incredible tally of 20 points (0-2 from play) to his name by that stage but had just left the field with an injury when his side were awarded a free at the death.

Second-choice free-taker Brian Duignan had been substituted minutes earlier as players from both teams were dropping with cramp. John Murphy stepped up to nail the winner from midfield with the very last puck of the game, sealing a huge victory for his county.

They were helped in no small part by Kiely’s performance. The younger brother of senior star Cillian, the Kilcormac/Killoughey club man missed just six of his 26 shots at the posts and scored a number of his frees from distance. 

Conor Langton was excellent too and scored 0-4, but there were big performances all over the field – particularly in defence where Ross Ravenhill and Killian Sampson were in fine form.

The last time Offaly beat any of Wexford, Kilkenny or Dublin at this grade (previously U21) was in 2008. This result was a long time coming. 

John Murphy hits the winning point Murphy hits the winning point. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Managed by Gary Cahill and Shane Hand, Offaly will take on Wexford in the Leinster semi-final full of confidence. This U20 crop are viewed locally as a talented crew with a large portion of the team underage again next season.

It wasn’t a bad Dublin team by any means. The Sky Blues boasted eight players of their minor side that contested the All-Ireland semi-final in 2017, including current senior panellists David Keogh – who was sent off in the third quarter – and Lee Gannon.  

Cian Derwin was their best player and he finished with a 16-point haul, including 13 placed balls.

Frees were the order of the day due to the whistle-happy nature of the referee. 

Offaly had Kiely’s brilliance from dead balls to thank in a first-half where he contributed 0-9 of their 11-point haul, while Derwin clipped over seven points in the opening half (0-2 from play). 

Billy Ryan, who spent time with Mattie Kenny’s extended senior squad prior to the league, grabbed a goal in the ninth minute after Luke McDwyer cut through the Offaly defence. 

Diarmuid O'Floinn is tackled by Barry Kealey Diarmuid O'Floinn is tackled by Barry Kealey. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Dublin pressed five clear by the 19th minute, yet Offaly finished the half on the front foot. Half-forwards Barry Kealey and Langton were dominant in the air as they went in two behind at the interval.

Dublin’s running game continued to cause the visitors problems, with Diarmaid O’Floinn and McDwyer punching holes in the Faithful’s defence. With the wind at their backs, five from Kiely and an effort from John Murphy moved Offaly to within a point when disaster struck for Dublin.

David Keogh was red carded in the 48th minute for an off-the-ball clash that left Joey Keenaghan on the deck. The home side responded with a brace of Derwin frees but a Kiely 65 and a booming Sampson point hauled the Faithful level.

In a rip-roaring finale, Offaly pushed a point clear on two occasions and yet Dublin twice equalised through Derwin to force extra-time.

The Sky Blues were restored to their full 15 for the extra period and after Offaly looked like they’d blown it, Murphy stepped up to seal the victory.

Scorers for Offaly: Cathal Kiely 0-20 (0-16f, 0-2 65), Conor Langton 0-4, Conor Quinn 1-0, John Murphy 0-2 (0-1f), Ryan Hogan, Killian Sampson and David Nally 0-1 each.

Scorers for Dublin: Cian Derwin 0-16 (0-13f), Billy Ryan 1-2, Matthew Dunne 1-0, Kevin Desmond 0-2, Kevin Burke, Iain O’hEithir, Diarmaid O’Floinn, Luke McDwyer and Liam Murphy 0-1 each. 

Offaly

1. Eamonn Cleary (Shinrone)

6. Conor Butler (Belmont)
2. Dara Maher (Shinrone)
5. Ciaran Burke (Durrow)

4. Ryan Hogan (Carrig & Riverstown)
3. Ross Ravenhill (Durrow)
7. Killian Sampson (Shinrone)

15. Joey Keeneghan (Clodiagh Gaels)
9. David Nally (Ferbane – captain)

13. Brian Duignan (Durrow)
11. Barry Kealey (Seir Kieran)
8. Cathal Kiely (Kilcormac-Killoughey)

10. John Murphy (Ballinamere)
14. Cillian Ryan (Shinrone)
12. Conor Langton (Clodiagh Gaels)

Subs  

19. Conor Quinn (Kilcormac/Kiloughey) for Kealey (51)
11. Kealey for Ryan (53)
20. Lochlann Kavanagh (Kilcormac/Kiloughey) for Nally (74)
17. Sean Beatty (Clodiagh Gaels) for Sampson (78, inj)
21. Cathal Brady (Clodiagh Gaels) for Duignan (79)
14. Ryan for Kiely (82)

Dublin

1. Conor O’Donoghue (Ballyboden St Enda’s)

2. Andrew Dunphy (St Brigid’s)
3. Tommy Kinanne (Naomh Mearnóg)
4. Jack Fagan (Raheny)

7. Iain Ó hEithir (Ballinteer St John’s)
6. Lee Gannon (Whitehall Colmcille)
5. Kevin Burke (Na Fianna)

8. Michael Conroy (Cuala)
9. David Keogh (Thomas Davis)

10. Diarmaid Ó Floinn (Cuala)
11. Luke McDwyer (Ballyboden St Enda’s)
12. Cian Derwin (Craobh Chiarain) 

13. Billy Ryan (Craobh Chiarain)
14. Sean Currie (Na Fianna)
15. Kevin Desmond (Ballyboden St Enda’s)

Subs

20. Pearse Christie (Ballyboden St Endas) for Conroy (40)
21. Liam Murphy (Cuala) for Desmond (53)
19. Alex O’Neill (Round Towers) for O’hEithir (57)
22. Matthew Dunne (Lucan Sarsfields) for Keogh (60, back to 15 for ET)
17. Eoin Carney (Erins Isle) for McDwyer (69)
24. James O’Connell (St Brigid’s) for Ryan (78)

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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