Friday 16 November 2018

Bergin and Dooley put Offaly on the right road

Offaly 1-21 Laois 1-16

Joe Bergin of Offaly celebrates after scoring his side's first goal Photo: Sportsfile
Joe Bergin of Offaly celebrates after scoring his side's first goal Photo: Sportsfile

Brian Lowry

Offaly got their second win of the league campaign yesterday with five points to spare over Laois in Tullamore. With Joe Bergin and Shane Dooley amassing 1-14 between them, the Faithful County were inspired by their long-serving talismans.

They led by a point at half-time having played against the wind, before Dooley and Bergin really came to the fore in the second-half.

James Ryan of Laois in action against Tommy Geraghty of Offaly Photo: Sportsfile
James Ryan of Laois in action against Tommy Geraghty of Offaly Photo: Sportsfile

Offaly boss Kevin Martin was delighted with the duo.

"Joe Bergin played very well. He tired near the end and has a bit to go yet, but he looked sharp and worked very hard as well," he said.

"Shane Dooley looked good as well. We are working with him at training with his fitness levels. He knows he has to get there and we had to be fair to him and give him his start. He is going in the right direction."

Niggly

A niggly affair throughout, seven yellow cards were brandished on a day when Offaly out-battled Laois, something manager Eamonn Kelly was really disappointed with.

Charles Dwyer of Laois in action against Colin Egan of Offaly Photo: Sportsfile
Charles Dwyer of Laois in action against Colin Egan of Offaly Photo: Sportsfile

The Laois men hit their first goal in this year's league campaign when Patrick Purcell brought his tally to 1-1 after only 13 minutes, firing home from an acute angle.

Instead of kicking on, it was the home side that answered back and four points on the spin for Offaly sent them into the lead for the first time on 20 minutes, 0-6 to 1-2.

With Dooley on song from frees, Offaly were keeping their noses in front, but Ross King managed to level again with eight minutes left to the break.

Willie Dunphy and Purcell kept Laois on the charge, but a fine point in first-half injury-time from Thomas Geraghty left Offaly leading 0-11 to 1-7 at the break.

"We had to win. They acquitted themselves very well in the first-half. We were a point up going in at half-time turning with the breeze," said Martin.

"We looked like we were going to push on and win it well, but Laois came back at us. We could have closed them out, but we didn't and that is something we will have to work on. Overall, a good win."

Laois raced out of the blocks in the second-half with points from Ross King and a sideline cut from half-time sub Mark Kavanagh to take the lead, but by the time the half was five minutes old, Offaly were back in front with David King, Dooley, and Bergin landing points to put them 0-14 to 1-9 ahead.

Offaly began to turn the screw and a long ball in from Pat Camon saw Bergin fetch in air and unleash a bullet to the net.

Dan Currams and Bergin went on to add points with a nine-point margin opening up.

Dooley and Bergin could do very little wrong and despite Neil Foyle pointing for Laois, Offaly continued to cruise, leading 1-20 to 1-12 with 10 minutes to go.

The tempo dropped in the last 10 minutes, but Offaly kept steady and earned their second win. They now take on Antrim next weekend.

"Antrim in Birr will be a big battle. They are a big strong team, but we will be up for the battle," insisted Martin.

Laois boss Kelly was disappointed with his side's showing as they now move on to what potentially could be a shoot-out for the last quarter-final spot when they take on Dublin in O'Moore Park next weekend.

"It was a big game. Whoever won was going to have a foot in the quarter-final," he said.

"We are disappointed with the way we played, but you have to give credit to Offaly. They looked hungrier than us and battled a lot harder than we did."

Irish Independent

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