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Dominant Dublin snap trap door on outclassed Offaly

Dublin 2-24 Offaly 0-13 - Leinster SHC round-robin

Offaly pair David King (left) and James Gorman after their side’s loss to Dublin. Photo: Sportsfile
Offaly pair David King (left) and James Gorman after their side’s loss to Dublin. Photo: Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

One defeat - two championship exits. That was Offaly's miserable experience in Parnell Park where a thumping defeat in their final game of this season's Leinster round robin also ruled them out of next year's campaign.

After suffering a heavy defeat against Wexford in their previous outing, Offaly's prospects of saving the season always looked remote going into a clash with a Dublin team that had two weeks to re-charge their batteries.

Fergal Whitely celebrates scoring Dublin’s first goal. Photo: Sportsfile
Fergal Whitely celebrates scoring Dublin’s first goal. Photo: Sportsfile

And so it proved. Offaly held their own early on but there were signs that Dublin were playing comfortably within themselves and would have quite a bit in hand as the game wore on. Their shooting let them down in the first half, during which they posted no fewer than 13 wides.

They still led by two points coming up to the half hour mark, however, before adding 1-3 coming up to half-time, the goal coming from Paul Ryan in stoppage time. It left them leading by 1-10 to 0-5 at the interval.

Whipped

Offaly needed a quick retort early in the second half if they were to have any realistic chance of turning things around but instead it was Dublin who made the early move themselves when Fergal Whitley whipped in their second goal in the 39th minute.

It left Offaly facing a long and lonely second period, with Dublin driving ever further ahead. They fired over a string of scores and were 17 points clear by the three-quarter stage.

Offaly boss Kevin Martin and Dublin’s Pat Gilroy. Photo: Sportsfile
Offaly boss Kevin Martin and Dublin’s Pat Gilroy. Photo: Sportsfile

Offaly became increasingly chaotic and while they battled as best they could there was little end product. They even missed a penalty in the 50th minute when substitute Shane Dooley had his shot saved by Alan Nolan.

Joe Bergin missed three frees in the first half, setbacks which Offaly could not afford on a day when none of their starting six forwards scored from open play.

Offaly's energy levels sagged visibly as the second half progressed, which was scarcely surprising as this was their fourth game in 21 days.

It would have been a tough schedule even if they were playing well, but with their confidence dropping with each passing defeat, they were always likely to be in trouble yesterday.

A fresher Dublin outfit had all bases covered and with their defence easily controlling the Offaly attack, there was never going to be a surprise result, similar to when they beat Pat Gilroy's men in the opening Allianz League game last January.

In addition to closing most of the approach routes, the Dublin half-back line were also more productive with their wing-men, Shane Barrett and Chris Crummey, each scoring four points from open play.

Midfielders Rian McBride and Jake Malone also got in on the scoring act, as did all the starting forwards except Danny Sutcliffe.

So then, mission accomplished for Dublin in terms of remaining in the Leinster championship but they will feel a deep sense of frustration that their final game against Galway in Pearse Stadium next Saturday has no real significance.

Galway have already qualified for the Leinster final while Dublin can't get ahead of Kilkenny or Wexford, both of whom narrowly beat them.

The first round loss to Kilkenny in Parnell Park still rankles with them as it was a game they really should have won. They had chances against Wexford too but didn't make them count, leaving them with a must-win clash with Offaly yesterday.

They rose to the occasion with some style, leaving Offaly no more than distant specks in their rear view mirror.

Scorers - Dublin: P Ryan (4f) 1-5, S Barrett, C Crummey 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 (4f) 0-4, D Currams, P Murphy, S Dooley (2f) 0-2 each, J Gorman, E Cahill, K Dunne 0-1 each.

Dublin: A Nolan 7; P Smyth 7, C O'Callaghan 7, E O'Donnell 8; C Crummey 9, S Moran 7, S Barrett 9; R McBride 7, J Malone 7; F McGibb 7, C Keaney 7, D Sutcliffe 6; F Whitley 7, L Rushe 7, P Ryan 7. Subs: C Boland 7 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 6; D O'Toole Greene 5, B Conneely 5, T Spain 5; D Shortt 5, P Camon 6, D King 5; D Currams 6, D Egan 5; S Kinsella 5, C Egan 5, T Geraghty 5; S Ryan 5, C Mahon 5, J Bergin 5. Subs: S Dooley 5 for Ryan (42), K Dunne 5 for Kinsella (48), R Hughes 5 for D Egan (48), P Murphy 7 for C Egan (48), J Gorman for Bergin (55).

Ref - C Lyons (Cork)

Irish Independent

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