Offaly 2-19 Galway 2-13
Offaly won the junior A hurling championship with a convincing performance against a Galway side that really didn’t start playing till the second half when the gap was too great to overcome. The week leading up to the game saw an objection from the semi-final by Fr. Tom’s that was first upheld, and then thrown out, by the various committee’s involved, and Offaly did not find out whether they would be contesting the final until a day before the final. It was a game that featured 8 home grown players between the teams as the movement towards developing the locally born talent gains momentum.
Offaly 2022 Junior A Champions
Offaly held a sizeable lead at the break having netted through Galway man, Kevin Larkin, who was followed by Sean Moriarty with a second goal. Up to that point the teams had been hanging with each other, Offaly held a one point lead. For Galway Sean Whealan at center forward opened the scoring and midfielder Eoin Kerin added a second. Offaly got off the mark through stalwart, James Rigney who lined out at corner forward. Galway added two more, Aidan O’Malley – one of the Home Grown contingent – and Danny Lynch had Galway in an early 4 points to one lead. Offaly started to get into the swing of things then.
Rigney and Moriarty pointed again for the faithful county, before Lynch had Galway up by two with a great score, but Offaly then stepped up the tempo and for the second 15 minutes started to put Galway farther in the rearview mirror. Larkin found the mark with three points on the trot for Offaly to take the lead, and then as Galway were seeking a response, hit with a goal. The scoring flurry continued with another Larkin point. Lynch pointed for Galway, however, any hopes from the tribesmen of stemming the tide were in vain. Another goal came from the stick of Moriarty, and Larking went into full swing again with 3 more unanswered points, Evan Campbell capped of the run of scores with a point to make it Offaly 2-11 Galway 0-6 at the break.
The early part of the second half saw Offaly pad the lead by two more points. Lynch reopened for Galway, and again, Larkin was the man putting the ball between the posts. A 13 point lead is a mountain to climb, even in hurling, but Galway set about trying to climb it. The lead was cut by two points as Galway converted to 4 points to Offaly’s two, Aidan O’Malley contributing with 2 of the Galway tally. Danny Lynch’s goal for Galway was followed by 2 more points, Cormac Kelly getting in on the act and Kerin adding another. 6 points in it now, and, like in the semi-final, Offaly needed to raise their game again to hold their opponents at bay.
Time was on the side of the Offalymen, and although Galway found the net one more time through Kerin, it would not make a dent in the lead as it was matched by 3 points from Mike Lennon, Larkin and Eoghan Fitzgerald. Offaly junior A hurling champions for 2022 and on to Chicago for the faithful men.
Offaly: Darragh Kealy, Dan Williams, Liam O’Connor, Jack Murray, Cathal Hayes, Jack Lynch, Evan Campbell, Michael Moriarty, Sean Moriarty, Tom Lind, Kevin larkin, Michael Lennon, James Rigney.
Galway: Aidan Joyce, Greg Lundy, Pat Moylan, Aidan Flanagan, Danny Lynch, Eoin Casey, Eoin Morissey, Eoin Kerin, Aidan O’Malley, Sean Whealan, Cormac Kelly, JJ Doyle, Conor Gilligan.
By Rory O'Donnell
Photo Aoife Griffin