Offaly out as Dubs survive in Leinster
The Championship: Dublin 2-24 Offaly 0-13
It was all too easy for Dublin as on Sunday afternoon they brushed off the threat of relegation and at the same time eliminated Offaly from next year's Leinster Hurling Championship.
It was a sad day for Offaly hurling as the trapdoor came crashing down on them in Parnell Park and they became the first victims of the new system, which despatches the bottom team in the Leinster 'round robin' series into the Joe McDonagh Cup the following season.
The odds were always against them beating Dublin in what was, in effect, a relegation shootout, and after a reasonably enterprising opening 30 minutes they were completely overwhelmed.
They lost the second half by 1-14 to 0-8 against a Dublin team that gave the clear impression they had a lot more in them if the occasion demanded.
Offaly's energy levels dropped in the second half, which may have been down to the fact that this was their fourth championship game in 22 days. Their confidence drained too as the inevitability of another big defeat became ever more apparent.
Dublin, meanwhile, now will head to Pearse Stadium next Saturday to take on Galway in what is a dead rubber as the Tribesmen have already qualified for the Leinster final and the Dubs are out of contention for a top-two finish and cannot be relegated.
Despite shooting 13 wides, Dublin led by 1-10 to 0-5 at half-time, the goal coming from Paul Ryan late in stoppage time. On another day that wastefulness would have proved far more serious, but Offaly were wayward too, shooing eight wides.
Three of them came from frees by Joe Bergin, chances that really should have been converted into points. He pointed three other frees, while midfielder Dan Currams added the other two from open play. It meant that none of Offaly's starting six forwards scored from open play in the first half.
Wing-backs Chris Crummey and Shane Barrett contributed 0-5 between them of Dublin's first-half total, while Ryan hit 1-3, 0-2 from frees.
Scorers: Dublin - P Ryan 1-5 (4f), S Barrett, C Cummey 0-4 each, F Whitley 1-1, L Rushe, J Malone, C Keaney, C Boland 0-2 each, F McGibb, R McBride 0-1 each. Offaly - J Bergin 0-4 (4f), D Currams, P Murphy, S Dooley (2f) 0-2 each, J Gorman, E Cahill, K Dunne 0-1 each.
Dublin: A Nolan; P Smyth, C O'Callaghan, E O'Donnell; C Crummey, S Moran, S Barrett; R McBride, J Malone; F McGibb, C Keaney, D Sutcliffe; F Whitley, L Rushe, P Ryan. Subs: C Boland for Whitley (17), T Connolly for McBride (55), D Treacy for Keaney (56), J McCaffrey for McGibb (61f), P Winters for Rushe (63).
Offaly: E Cahill; D O'Toole Greene, B Conneely, T Spain; D Shortt, P Camon, D King; D Currams, D Egan; S Kinsella, C Egan, T Geraghty; S Ryan, C Mahon, J Bergin. Subs: S Dooley for Ryan (42), K Dunne for Kinsella (48), R Hughes for D Egan (48), P Murphy for C Egan (48), J Gorman for Bergin (55).
Ref: C Lyons (Cork)