Monday, August 14, 2017

Junior A Hurling Semi-Final: Fr. Tom Burke's v OffalyOffaly 4-17 Fr. Tom Burke’s 4-14 (AET)

Another junior A Semi-Final, another game that went into extra time.  It was tight all the way through, and with Tom’s ahead by a point in injury time, and Offaly free leveled matters to send it into extra time.  A sending off in the additional period did not help Tom’s cause, and a Shaun Dunne goal early in the second period set up Offaly for the win and a date with Tipperary next week.

Adrian Cleary on the run for Offaly. 
Offaly held a slight advantage at the break thanks to two wonderfully engineered goals.  Jimmy Rigney was the chief architect.  The Kinnity man put Shaun Dunne though with a perfect pass for the first, and for the second set up Stephen Brown on the edge of the small square.  The half was evenly contested, each side had plenty of chances.  For Tom’s Fran Keenan and Daniel O’Connell converted 4 points from dead balls, while the balance of the scores were supplied by Paudge Egan and Niall McCarthy.  Ciaran Moore poached a goal to keep Tom’s in touch early in the half after his shot had come off the keeper and the post.

When on the move Offaly looked slightly more dangerous.  The Faithful County’s scorers were scattered around the field with contributions on the scoreboard from Tommy Rigney  and Adrian Cleary in the half back line, Cathal Cusack in midfield, and 3 of the five forwards hit the mark.  At the break it was a 1-7 to 2-7 Offaly lead.

Old Soldiers Seamie Higgins and Andy McRedomnd in perfect Synch.
Tom’s had affairs level on the scoreboard before long following the restart.  Ciaran Moore showed some great fielding skills and netted after a Paudge Egan run.  Offaly tried to wrest control of the game back into their favour.  Alan Murray netted shortly after coming in to game, and points from Dan O’Connell and McRedmond had the faithful men back on top.  Not for long however, Tom’s won a penalty after Keenan was fouled in the box.  The Laoisman took it himself and made no mistake hitting the back of the net.   Keenan scored his second, and Tom’s fourth goal soon afterwards, catching the Offaly men on the goal line unawares and fired a 21 yard free home.  Now it was Tom’s with a two point advantage. 

Offaly had the scores level heading into the full time whistle thanks to scores from Cleary and Dunne, but a Dan O’Connell strike looked like it would deliver the game for Tom’s.  Offaly had a last minute free and it was converted by Murray to send the game into extra time.

Offaly took the break in the extra period point to the good, and a man to the good after Dan O’Connell was given his marching orders for an off the ball incident just before the changeover.  After the second period started Dunne netted after some good build up play involving Tommy Rigney and Alan Murray.  Dunne fielded cleanly and turned and drove the ball into the net.  With the extra man in defence, Offaly cleaned up anything Tom’s dropped inside the 45 and looked comfortable.  It was a hard earned win to try and make it back to back junior titles, however, it is a formidable Tipperary team that awaits next week.  

Offaly:  Gary Sherlock, Alan Bergin, Rian Dempsey, Jack Murray, Adrian Cleary, Tommy Rigney, James Rigney, Cathal Cusack, Chris McMahon, Andy McRedmond, Jack Lynch, Shaun Dunne, Stephen Brown.  Subs:  Alan Murray, Mickey Markham.

Tom’s:  Sean O’Brien, Paddy Flynn, Sean Og Somers, James Dooley, Seamus Higgins, Kevin Burke, Gary Kelly, Daniel O’Connell, Fran Keenan, Niall McCarthy, Podge Egan, Ciaran Moore, Jack Martin.  Subs:  Chris O’Donoghue, Liam Moore.

By Rory O'Donnell

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