Monday 22 January 2018

Dooley leads charge in seeing off Carlow

Shane Dooley in action against Carlow's Richard Coady. Photo: Sportsfile
Shane Dooley in action against Carlow's Richard Coady. Photo: Sportsfile Newsdesk

Offaly are back in contention in the Leinster round robin after an extraordinary week in the province finished off with a three-point win, 1-17 to 2-11, over Carlow at O'Connor Park in Tullamore yesterday.

Shane Dooley was the star for Offaly and his 44th-minute strike laid the foundations as they won the second half, and outwitted an ill-disciplined Carlow side, who had Diarmuid Byrne, Hugh Paddy O'Byrne and Brian Treacy all sent off late on.

Offaly trailed 0-5 to 0-1 when Kevin McDonald scored for Carlow in the fifth minute, but Dooley hit five of Offaly's next six scores as they took the initiative. Smithers struck a crucial goal in the 32nd minute and it looked as if Carlow would push on, even though they shot seven wides with the wind at their backs in the first half - they had 13 wides in the first half against Kerry last week.

But they only led by the minimum at the break, and despite Murphy's goal eight minutes into the second half, Dooley was always a threat.

Kerry's hopes of advancing to the quarter-finals suffered a nosedive when they were beaten 1-18 to 1-11 by Westmeath at Austin Stack Park on Saturday afternoon.

Kerry were outplayed in the second half and must now face Offaly in a fortnight knowing that avoiding defeat will see them advance.

It was a game where Westmeath frustrated Kerry at every opportunity with numbers behind the ball and despite leading 1-8 to 0-7 at half-time, Kerry found it difficult to break down Michael Ryan's system.

The crucial score in the opening half came in the ninth minute when Michael O'Leary set up Mikey Boyle, who scored an opportunist goal but Kerry failed to score during a 10-minute period in which Westmeath tacked on four points from Alan Devine, Liam Varley, Cormac Boyle and a free from Niall O'Brien. Kerry finished the half the stronger outscoring Westmeath 0-4 to 0-1 with Brendan O'Leary getting the pick of the scores.

However, on the resumption Westmeath assumed complete control and they were level within five minutes. Boyle with a beauty from midfield had Kerry in front for the final time in the game before a goal in the 46th minute from Derek McNicholas had Westmeath were in the driving seat.

Westmeath never looked back and their reward is a home Leinster quarter-final against Galway.

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