Saturday, July 16, 2016

Junior A Hurling: Offaly v Wexford; Worcester v Tipperary

Offaly 2-21 Wexford 4-12

Offaly held on to capture 2 championship points in a nail biting junior hurling championship game on Saturday evening at the ICC in Canton.  Offaly looked to have established a comfortable 10 point lead about 20 minutes into the game, however, Wexford hit with 2 goals late in the half  and another 2 in the second to make it a one goal game in the final minutes.  With the spectators on the edges of the benches, Offaly held on as Wexford went for the goal to tie it up.

Wexford just about couldn't catch Offaly Saturday evening.
The end of the first half saw Offaly sitting on a comfortable 6 point lead.  The Faithful men picked off their points well, and also combined well in opening up shooting angles.  James Kilmartin at wing forward was the big dangerman and the former Offaly underage player opened the scoring with a point from each side of the field.  Barry McManaman at corner forward was also a major threat, and it was he who accounted for a goal that put Offaly into an early 1-6 to a point lead.  Wexford pulled themselves back into it with 2 goals.  One Kevin Joyce at full forward and a second from John Dooley with Joyce involved.  At the break it was 1-14 to 2-5 for Offaly.

Joyce hit with a third Wexford goal shortly after the restart, however it was none other than Kilmartin who pulled it back within minutes to dampen Wexford hopes.  Offaly extened the lead to 7 points again through Barry Kealy and Kilmartin scores, but Wexford finally found the target.  Peter Ryan andPaddy Whelan pulled the side within four as the Wexford men worked very hard throughout the field to rein in their counterparts.  

Whelan put a free from outside the 21 into the net to set up a grandstand finish with one point in it, however McManaman and Kilmartin restored the lead to four.  After a Dooley point made it a one goal game Wexford had one last chance to tie it up but with Offaly back in numbers the ball never made it into the danger zone.  A very exciting win for the newcomers, and great Saturday evening entertainment for the visitors to Canton.

Tipperary 5-15 Worcester 0-10

If it weren’t for the goals Worcester were very much in this game against Tipperary in the early game.  Tipperary streaked into a a1-6 to a point lead before Worcester settled into the game.  Peter O’Keefe was the free taker and corner forward dynamo for Tipperary.  Pat Moriarty was very much involved in the half back line, while his brother Sean was another headache for Worcester opposite O’Keefe in the corner.  Between them Moriarty and O’Keefe accounted for all of Tipperary’s 3-8, Moriarty with 2 of the 3 goals.

It was goals that separated Tipperary
and Worcester at the ICC.
For their part, Worcester settled into the game in the latter part of the first half.  John Griffey, Sean O’Shaughnessy and Dan Brown accounted for Worcester’s 6 points, O’Shaughnessy putting two fine efforts over the bar.  John Donohoe did well in the half back line to return several threatening looking Tipperary attacks.  At the break it was a 3-8 to 0-6 Tipp advantage.

Two Tipp goals in the first 10 minutes after the restart put the dampers on any hope of Worcester getting into touching distance.  Again, it was Moriarty first and then O’Keefe hitting the majors.  Worcester kept at it, O’Shaughnessy with another booming point and Dan Sweatland getting his name on the scoresheet.  Tipp saw it out, but needed those goals to feel comfortable.

Offaly:  G. Sherlock, J. Murray, A. Bergin, R. Reynolds, T. Rigney, C. McMahon, D. Kealy, C. Mahon, C. Flynn, L. Kiely, J. Kilmartin, M. Markham, B. McManaman.  Wexford:  E. Spruhan, E. Goff, J. Taggert, JJ O’Neill, D. Magill, P. Bergin, G. Lundy, S. Delaney, P. Whelan, P. Ryan, P. Guinan, J. Dooley, K. Joyce.

Worcester:  T. O’Brien, D. Smith, T. Falise, P. Mann, C. Berry, J. Donohue, S. Shaughnessy, T, Gahan, D. Brown, D. Sweatland,  P. Dolan, J. Grifffey, PJ Heffernan.  Tipp:  M. McGrath, M. Moriarty, S. Sinnott, M. Jordan, P. Moriarty, D. Donovan, S. Fortune, C. Madden, M. Kavanagh, T. Hanley, S. Delaney, S. Moriarty, P. O’Keefe.

By Rory O'Donnell

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