Red-hot Kelly and Nolan fire Faithful into final
Offaly 5-16 Carlow 1-13 BGE Leinster U-21 HC Semi-Final
Five goals from the potent Offaly full-forward line of Oisin Kelly, Emmet Nolan and Cillian Kiely brushed a gutsy Carlow challenge aside in Dr Cullen Park to set up final date with Dublin next month.
Carlow had edged into a 0-6 to 0-5 lead after a quarter of an hour through the accuracy of Kevin McDonald and James Doyle but two goals in as many minutes from Kelly and Kiely put the Faithful county in charge.
Goalkeeper Eoghan Cahill had to be at his best to pull off a string of first-half saves but with Dylan Murray also on song at the other end, Offaly powered into a 2-8 to 0-10 lead at the break.
Liam Dunphy's side started the second half in similar fashion with Murray and Kiely pointing within 60 seconds before Nolan hit an excellent goal as they hit 1-4 without reply to go 11 up, 3-12 to 0-10, after 40 minutes.
Carlow roared back into contention, with Conor Foley hitting a spectacular goal to cut the gap to six midway through the half but frees from Nolan and Murray steadied the Offaly ship.
And when Cahill denied McDonald with an excellent penalty stop, the Barrowsiders faded and they failed to score in the closing quarter against a superbly fit Offaly side. Nolan and Kelly, who only completed his Leaving Cert yesterday, caused the Carlow full-back line endless problems and they had the final say with a goal apiece in the dying minutes as Offaly qualified for their first provincial hurling final at any grade since 2008.
SCORERS - Offaly: D Murray 0-8 (5fs, 1 '65'), O Kelly (0-1f), E Nolan (0-1f) 2-2 each, C Kiely 1-1, J O'Toole-Greene, D Wyer, R Hughes 0-1 each. Carlow: K McDonald 0-5fs, J Doyle 0-4, C Foley 1-1, D Wall 0-2, J Kelly 0-1.
OFFALY - E Cahill; D Healy, D Toole-Greene, P Delaney; A Cleary, B Conneely, D Doughan; D Wyer, P Guinan; J O'Toole-Greene, D Murray, R Hughes; C Kiely, O Kelly, E Nolan. Subs: C Freeman for Wyer (46), L Langton for Kiely (59), E Parlon for Guinan (60), JP Cleary for Hughes (61), C Taylor for Delaney (62).
CARLOW - J Barron; P Coughlan, G Cody, M Malone; J Murphy, S Whelan, E Redmond; K McDonald, D Wall; J Doyle, C Foley, D O'Neill; T Joyce, J Kelly, L Galway. Subs: D Grennan for Galway (ht), J Whelan for O'Neill (45), A Casey for Redmond (50), K Hosey for Kelly (61), L Cummins for Coughlan (61).
REF - J Heffernan (Wexford)