Monday, August 8, 2022

Junior A Hurling Semi-Final: Offaly v Fr. Tom Burke's

Offaly 2-16 Fr. Tom Burke’s 2-13

Robert Croft takes off for Offaly

It was a game of 2 halves between Offaly and Fr. Tom’s with Offaly dominating the opening 30 minutes, while Tom’s looked not to be at the races.  The second half was a turnaround with Tom’s keeping the Offaly men on edge and almost pulling off a comeback only to fall short as time ran out. 

Offaly outscored their opponents 11 points to 3 in the opening 30 minutes.  The Offaly men were first to everything and scores came from a few different quarters.  Kevin Larkin was the main threat with the free-taking duties and the wing forward accounted for 6 of the 11 Offaly points.  Robert Croft was not far behind with 3 points from play and the Dubliner fired a couple of impressive scores over the bar.   Tom’s looked like they were severely struggling in the heat and to get some kind of momentum going, and did not get much of a return for their efforts.  It took a long range free from Fran Keenan who had lined out in goal to get them off the mark, followed by seasoned veteran Seamie Higgins with a score.  Enda Keary accounted for the third point for Tom’s, but the way the game was going an easy Offaly victory looked like it was on the cards.

The second 30 minutes was a completely different story, and Tom’s will have been wondering why they left it so long to get going.  Once they did Tom’s looked impressive with the big guns getting into the flow and hitting some great scores.  John O’Doherty came on at half forward and also aided the efforts of the Tom’s men, and the game took on a whole different complexion.

Dylan Costello rises for Tom's

The Offaly lead was shrinking as Tom’s had fired over 3 points to one from the Faithful County side shortly following the restart.  Croft accounted for the Offaly score, and then it was Cormac Joyce-Power, O’Doherty, and Aaron Moore who put three over without reply.   Offaly were under pressure to regain the advantage and a goal from substitute Pat Murray provided relief from the onslaught.  Murray’s low shot sneaked into the inside of the near post and Tom’s good work to begin the second half was undone in one swing of the hurl.

But, back to work went the Tom’s men.  Joyce-Power and O’Doherty had the gap back to 6 points with three unanswered points and again, the tables looked like they could well turn.  A 65 from Aaron Moore made it 5 between the teams but when Offaly had to dig in, they did.  Offaly had a chance to open the gap again after winning a penalty.  James Rigney was the taker, but in the showdown between Kinnity and Camross, it was the Laois man who came out on top and Fran Keenan was equal to the shot, and deflected it over the bar for a point instead of 3.

Offaly got some great play from Home Grown players Sean O’Shaughnessy in the back line and Tom Lind up front.  O’Shaughnessy won a number of balls and cleared well, while Tom Lind at half forward did well to keep the ball moving.  Points from Pat Murray and Croft had Offaly breathing easy again.  But, Tom’s were not done with keeping Offaly nerves on edge as O’Doherty netted to put 4 between the teams and with time still on the clock, it was very much game on.  Offaly got the goal right back though, as Larking hit the net following an assist from Croft.  Tom’s had to go for goal now, and a couple of low attempts resulted in a point.  Joyce-Power netted a late goal and with just 3 points in it, there was still a chance form Tom’s.  Unfortunately for them, and to Offaly’s relief, the whistle blew for full time before there was another chance at goal and Offaly will be meeting Galway in Sunday’s final.

Offaly:  Darragh Kealy, Simon Sinnot, Liam O’Connor, Jack Murray, Cathal Hayes, Sean O’Shaughnessy, James Rigney, Robert Croft, Evan Campbell, Tom Lind, Kevin Larkin, Michael Lennon, Stephen Brown. 

Tom’s:  Fran Keenan, Ciaran Mulhall, Brian Troy, John O’Riordan, Brian Flynn, Paul Cannon, Jack Martyn, Oisin McCormack, Aaron Moore, Seamus Higgins, Enda Keary, Jason Costello, Cormac Joyce-Power.

By Rory O'Donnell

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