Friday 28 October 2016

Shane Lowry and the rest of his county despair after the 'darkest day' for Offaly hurling

Published 01/05/2016 | 21:01

It has been a long time since Offaly were competing for All-Ireland titles but today was a new low for the Faithful county as they were trounced 2-22 to 1-11 by Westmeath in the Leinster hurling championship round robin this afternoon.

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The county last tasted All-Ireland success in 1998 but since making the final two years later, there has been a steady decline in the team's performance.

Today's 14-point loss to Westmeath in their first championship meeting since 1978 will be a devastating blow for hurling in the county and Eamonn Kelly's charges will have to regroup quickly for next weekend's encounter against Carlow.

The winner of the four-team round robin group will face Galway in the Leinster quarter-final while the runner up will play Laois, so it may actually be advantageous to pick up one loss to ensure the Tribesmen are avoided.

In the other game, Carlow were beaten 2-19 to 0-17 by Kerry, in what was an impressive Leinster championship debut for the Kingdom.

But while plenty of plaudits were given to Ciaran Carey's men for their eight point win, the focus after today's action was mainly on how low Offaly have fallen from the days of the Dooleys and the Whelahans.

Shane Lowry and many other Offaly people tweeted their sadness at the team's performance, as they tried to make sense of what has happened to such a proud hurling county.

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