Offaly gain revenge on Laois with second-half blitz
Offaly 3-22 2-14 Laois
Offaly avenged last year's championship defeat to Laois, their first in 43 years, with a power-packed second-half display to defeat their neighbours by 11 points at O'Connor Park, Tullamore today.
The sides were level at 0-5 apiece after 20 minutes but a well-taken James Mulrooney goal gave Offaly a clear advantage approaching half-time before a late Laois blitz.
PJ Scully's scrambled effort, after yet another great save from Faithful keeper James Dempsey, left the sides evenly poised at the break, 1-10 each, but Offaly assumed complete control upon the resumption.
Eamonn Kelly's side got off to the perfect start with Joe Bergin's cracking goal within 60 seconds of the new half and the Faitfhul side never looked back as Shane Dooley, who finished with 1-11 from placed balls, Bergin and Kevin Connolly sent over points.
With only Cha Dwyer and Neil Foyle showing anything in attack for Laois, Offaly led 2-16 to 1-13 midway through the closing half before Dooley's penalty left the result in no doubt.
Subs Cillian Kiely and Sean Cleary added further scores before Willie Dunphy hit a late consolation goal for the O'Moore men, who now face the Qualifiers later this month.
Cheddar's Plunkett's side were very disappointing but for Kelly and Offaly, this was a big result following their 14-point mauling to Westmeath last month. They now meet Galway in the Leinster SHC semi-finals.
OFFALY – J Dempsey; C McDonald, D Shortt, P Rigney; D King, S Gardiner, D Mooney; S Ryan, P Camon; S Kinsella, J Bergin, P Murphy; K Connolly, J Mulrooney, S Dooley. Subs: C Kiely for D Shortt (ht), L Langton for K Connolly (57), S Cleary for J Mulrooney (60), J Sampson for S Ryan (63), D Kelleher for D Mooney (68).
LAOIS – E Rowland, C Healy, D Maher, D Palmer; L Bergin, M Whelan, R Mullaney; J Lennon, C Stapleton; W Hyland, C Dwyer, S Maher; P Purcell, N Foyle, PJ Scully. Subs: B Conroy for C Stapleton (45), T Delaney for R Mullaney (48), W Dunphy for PJ Scully (52), R king for J Lennon (58), O Carroll for T Delaney inj (66)
REF – J Ryan (Tipperary).