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Wednesday 8 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
INPHO/Morgan Treacy Offaly's Peter Geraghty holds off Jack Nolan of Kilkenny.
# top cats
Cats made to fight by Faithful but claim place in Leinster U-21 decider
Offaly pushed Kilkenny all the way in the provincial semi-final tonight.

Kilkenny 1-19

Offaly 1-13

KILKENNY SURVIVED A real scare in O’Connor Park to eventually win a fascinating Bord Gais Energy Leinster U-21 semi-final tonight.

In an exciting encounter at Tullamore, Kilkenny received a stern examination from Offaly, who came close to causing a shock.

Offaly craved an encouraging start and that is precisely what they got with Stephen Quirke supplying the nifty attacking touches inside. Quirke landed seven first half points, including three tasty efforts from play, as Offaly departed 0-9 to 0-8 ahead at the interval.

That was chiefly because Quirke was clinical converting chances as Kilkenny were forced to absorb significant pressure from the determined home side. By the 18th minute with Quirke carrying a potent threat inside Offaly led by 0-6 to 0-3 as Kilkenny were relying on the sharp free-taking of John Power.

As the first half lingered on, though, Cillian Buckley’s influence increased, while there were also glimpses of Shane Donnelly’s promise. But Quirke’s efficiency ensured Offaly went in at the break protecting a lead and the issue was delicately poised.

Three points on the spin after the restart from Power (2) and Kevin Kelly nudged the Cats 0-11 to 0-9 in front before Offaly pounced for a dramatic goal following an Aodhan Kealey score.

Inevitably it came courtesy of Quirke’s stick from a 20 metre free that went through a cluster of Kilkenny bodies. But Kilkenny summoned a response in the 51st minute when substitute Michael Brennan netted a goal from an awkward angle to give Kilkenny a 1-14 to 1-13 advantage.

Quirke had a penalty blocked two minutes later and Kilkenny had sufficient class to close the deal hitting 1-5 without reply.

Scorers for Kilkenny: John Power 0-10 (9fs, 165), Michael Brennan 1-1, Kevin Kelly 0-4, Cillian Buckley 0-1, Richie Reid 0-1, Shane Donnelly 0-1, Ger Aylward 0-1.

Scorers for Offaly: Stephen Quirke 1-10 (1-7fs), Thomas Geraghty 0-2, Aodhan Kealey 0-1

KILKENNY: Aaron Duggan (Dicksboro); Jack Nolan (O’Loughlin Gaels), Willie Phelan (Dunnamaggin), Padraig Walsh (Tullaoran); Jason Corcoran (John Lockes), Luke Harney (Kilmacow), Brian Kennedy (St Lachtain’s – captain); Richie Reid (Ballyhale Shamrocks), Owen McGrath (John Lockes); Cillian Buckley (Dicksboro), John Power (Carrickshock), Ollie Walsh (Dicksboro); Ger Aylward (Glenmore), Kevin Kelly (St Patrick’s), Shane Donnelly (St Lachtain’s). Subs: Jack Langton (Clara) for Nolan (26 mins), Michael Brennan (St Patrick’s) for Reid (37 mins), Conor Martin (Emeralds) for O Walsh (50 mins).

OFFALY: Conor Clancy (St Rynagh’s); Niall Wynne (St Rynagh’s), Dan Kelleher (Brosna Gaels), Michael Cleary (Shinrone); Sean Gardner (Lusmagh), Pat Camon (St Rynagh’s), David King (Coolderry); Thomas Carroll (Seir Kieran), Sean Cleary (Shinrone); Sean Dolan (St Rynagh’s), Aodhan Kealey (Kinnitty), Peter Geraghty (Kilcormac-Killoughey); Stephen Quirke (St Rynagh’s), Thomas Geraghty (Kilcormac-Killoughey), Adrian Hynes (Seir Kieran). Subs: Jason Sampson (Shinrone) for Kealey (57 mins).

REFEREE: Justin Heffernan (Wexford).

Wexford 1-12

Carlow 0-9

Meanwhile, at Dr Cullen Park, Carlow were denied a place in their first ever Leinster U-21 hurling final by a  14-man Wexford.

The sides traded points throughout the first half but Carlow trotted in a point to the good — 0-6 to 0-5 — at half-time.

Conor Goff was sent off after the interval but Ian Byrne then netted for Wexford. Carlow tried to make their extra man tell but they couldn’t repeat the heroics of the last round when they stunned Dublin.

WEXFORD: Brian Murphy (Shelmaliers); Garret Foley (St Mogues Fethard), Shane O’Gorman (Adamstown), Eoin Conroy (Naomh Eanna); Andrew Kenny (Buffers Alley), Dermot O’Leary (St. Patrick’s), Colm Heffernan (Faythe Harriers); Conor O’Leary (Oulart The Ballagh), Jack Hobbs (Ballygarret Realt Na Mara); Garry Moore (Glynn-Barntown), Lee Chin (Faythe Harriers), Ian Byrne (Ferns St Aidans); Jack Guiney (Rathnure St Annes), Barry Carton (Cloughbawn), Rhys Clarke (Faythe Harriers).

CARLOW: Brian Treacy (Naomh Eoin); David Galway (Erins Own), Paul Doyle (St Mullins), Dion Wall (Ballinkillen); Diarmuid Byrne (Mount Leinster Rangers), John Corcoran (Erins Own), Craig Wall (Ballinkillen); S Murphy, Paul Coady (Mount Leinster Rangers); John Michael Nolan (Naomh Eoin), Darren Dalton (Ballinkillen), Martin Kavanagh (St Mullins); Daryl Roberts (Ballinkillen), James Doyle (Erins Own), Peter Shaw (Naomh Bríd).

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