Dooley urges Faithful to stay focused
Offaly 3-23 Carlow 2-14
A ceasefire of sorts seemed to have broken out between Offaly hurling manager Joe Dooley and his county board executive.
That's the way it looked at last night's Walsh Shield final in Portlaoise at least, as county board chairman Pat Teehan sat directly behind Dooley as he prowled the sideline for the duration of the match.
And sitting beside Teehan was the Offaly team secretary, Tony Murphy, another one of the signatories of the letter of complaint that Dooley sent to the county board about the way the hurling team has been treated this year.
Neither Teehan nor Dooley wanted to discuss that letter after the match.
"It's important that we stay focused," said the Offaly manager. "A lot of stuff is going on but it's important that we concentrate on our job and that's why we're keeping the heads down."
The intrigue on the sidelines apart, it was a great evening's entertainment in O'Moore Park as both teams went at each other in a to-and-fro battle that flowed smoothly from one end of the field to the other.
A James Mulrooney goal helped Offaly into an early lead, but a sharp-looking Carlow were undaunted and, when they scored a goal themselves after 24 minutes through the ever-dangerous Craig Doyle, they went 1-7 to 1-6 ahead.
Offaly had recovered the lead by the break, and it looked like they were finally taming their neighbours when they strung together three fine points in a row at the start of the second half, but Carlow came roaring back again when Doyle slapped home his second goal after a smart pass from Ruairi Dunbar.
The closing minutes were a heart-warming procession for Offaly, though, as substitute Brendan Murphy marked his return to the team with a well-taken point and then Thomas Carroll effectively ended the game by cracking home Offaly's third goal.
SCORERS -- OFFALY: S Dooley 0-8 (6f), J Mulrooney, T Carroll 1-1 each, J Brady 1-0, J Bergin, B Carroll, D Currams (1 s-l) 0-3 each, D Hayden, C Mahon, G Healion, B Murphy 0-1 each. Carlow: C Doyle 2-2, R Dunbar 0-6 (5f), S Kavanagh 0-2 (1f, 1 '65'), E Byrne, P Kehoe, B Doyle, M Brennan 0-1 each.
Offaly -- J Dempsey; P Healion, D Kenny, S Egan; D Hayden, E Murphy, D Morkan; D Currams, C Mahon; S Dooley, G Healion, C Egan; B Carroll, J Bergin, J Mulrooney. Subs: B Murphy for C Mahon (48), J Brady for G Healion (56), T Carroll for B Carroll (64) M Morkan for S Egan (67).
Carlow -- N Roberts; A Corcoran, J Rogers, D Shaw; E Coady, D Kavanagh, R Coady; D English, S Kavanagh; C Doyle, E Byrne, R Dunbar; D Roberts, P Kehoe, H O'Byrne. Subs: P Coady for H O'Byrne (22), B Doyle for R Coady (29), J O'Hara for D English (40), M Brennan for D Roberts (50), A Brennan for P Kehoe (59).
Ref -- S Cleere (Kilkenny).