Offaly 1-19 Fr. Tom Burkes 2-13
It was a to and fro junior A hurling final with each side going on scoring spurts. At the end of it all it was Offaly with the three point advantage. The difference in the end was a second half goal from Victor Costello. Offaly weathered a late Tom’s storm to hold on and capture their second championship in 3 years.
Oisin McCormack accepts the trophy
from Peter Murray.
Offaly got off the better start with 6 unanswered points. Brian Murray was on song with the frees, while Jimmy Rigney and Stephen Brown also contributed to the tally. Tom’s weren’t long about getting on even terms. Two Conor O’Kane points were followed by a Jack Martyn goal. The home grown player found himself through on goal and tipped the ball past Offaly goalkeeper, Gary Sherlock and into the net. Tom’s now had the momentum and added three further points from O’Kane, one from a penalty.
Niall Gleeson was bearing down on the Offaly goal and was taken out of his stride with an illegal challenge. O’Kane took the penalty and his shot one hopped before Sherlock deflected the ball over the crossbar. Now it was Tom’s up by two points. The game swung back in favour of the faithful county as the Offaly men wrested back the initiative. Seven points on the trot restored the initiative. Rigney, Ronan Coffey, Paul Clifford, Noel Graham and Murray all scored as it was one way traffic in the run up to the break. Offaly held a 0-13 to 1-6 lead at the break.
Offaly struck with a goal of their own about 5 minutes into the second half. Ronan Coffey finished expertly into the far corner with just the keeper to beat, and Tom’s had it all to do. With Tom’s trying to hit Cormac Joyce-Power on the edge of the square, Tom’s dropped Jimmy Rigney back and the Kinnity man swept up the searching balls well. Offaly built on the lead with scores from Rigney, Murray, and a wonderful point from the wing by Sallins, Co. Kildare native, Paul Clifford.
|A second Junior A Championship for Offaly hurlers.|
The Offaly lead held at 9 points as the clock ran down and the cup looked destined to be headed for the Offaly men. The game was set for an exciting finish however. Tom’s made a final push to try and turn the tables. 5 scores, one a goal, brought them within a goals of their opponents. A goal from O’Kane came amid a flurry of 4 unanswered points and a game that looked completely lost was back in reach, still with a few minutes left. Tom’s tried everything to pull back the goal and square up the scored, but Offaly managed to keep the threat at bay until the final whistle.
Offaly: Gary Sherlock, Andy McRedmond, Seamus Loftus, Emmet Moran, Jack Lynch, Jimmy Rigney, Oisin McCormack (C), Killian Campbell, Paul Clifford, Stephen Brown, Noel Graham, Brian Murray, Ronan Coffey.
Tom’s: Fran Keenan, Peter Boylan, Sean O’Brien, Paddy Crichley, Jack Hannon, Seamus Higgins, Conor Eddery, Ciaran Mulhall, Jack Martyn, Cormac Joyce-Power, Conor O’Kane, Niall Gleeson, Dylan Costello.By Rory O'Donnell