Dublin maintain winnning start to league campaign after comfortable outing against Offaly
Dublin 2-19 Offaly 0-12
MATTIE KENNY’S Dublin maintained their 100pc Allianz Hurling League start while inflicting further pain on Offaly at O’Connor Park today.
The visitors led by eight at the break and, despite a battling third quarter from Kevin Martin’s men, the Dubs ultimately eased to the most routine of 13-point victories.
Any solace for the faltering Faithful? They more than halved the calamitous 27-point margin of defeat shipped to Waterford a week earlier.
In truth, this Division 1B clash was one of the more straight-forward contests to second-guess in advance, with Offaly depleted of bodies and denuded of confidence after last week’s Thurles trimming.
The hosts fought manfully through the first half in Tullamore but the gulf in class was evident from the off. On paper, Dublin looked relatively close to whatever championship team Kenny unveils in May and, by 18 minutes in, they already led by 1-4 to 0-2.
Donal Burke and Oisín O’Rorke were the star turns in attack for Dublin: the former finished with 0-6 from play while O’Rorke showed his poacher’s instincts with 2-3.
It wasn’t all about scoring for Burke, who also provided the assist for O’Rorke’s 11th minute goal. Burke appeared to be bottled up after a goal-bound run ran into traffic, but he managed to pick out the unmarked O’Rorke, who cut back and drilled a low shot inside the left hand post.
Dublin were six up when O’Rorke outfoxed Tom Spain on the turn and was hauled down for a penalty on the half-hour. Yet, for once, Seán Moran failed to get the cleanest of strikes and Eoghan Cahill saved his low effort. Adding insult to injury, Moran was booked within a minute for high tackle, having been caught upfield.
In first half injury-time, Dublin stretched their lead back out to eight (1-10 to 0-5) with points from David Treacy and O’Rorke before the half-time bell.
Offaly began the second half brightly with four of the first five points, including a hat-trick of long-range frees from ‘keeper Eoghan Cahill.
But their mini-comeback was stalled by O’Rorke’s second goal in the 46th minute, again finished with precision after defence-shredding approach play by subs Fiontán McGibb and Jake Malone.
SCORERS - Dublin: O O’Rorke 2-3, D Burke 0-6, J Hetherton 0-3 (2f), D Treacy (1f), F Whitely 0-2 each, L Rushe, S Moran, D Sutcliffe 0-1 each. Offaly: K Connolly (3f), E Cahill (3f) 0-3 each, P Murphy 0-2, O Kelly, C Gath, D Egan, K Dunne 0-1 each.
DUBLIN: A Nolan; C O’Callaghan, E O’Donnell, P Smyth; C Crummey, S Moran, S Barrett; S Treacy, D O’Connell; D Treacy, D Sutcliffe, R McBride; D Burke, L Rushe, O O’Rorke. Subs: E Dillon for Rushe (inj 26), J Malone for S Treacy (27), F McGibb for Barrett (ht), J Hetherton for D Treacy (41), F Whitely for McBride (57).
OFFALY: E Cahill; T Spain, N Houlihan, P Rigney; A Treacy, M Egan, E Grogan; C Taylor, K Dunne; D Egan, P Murphy, C Egan; K Connolly, O Kelly, C Gath. Subs: A Flynn for Taylor (inj 35+1), L Langton for M Egan (ht), S Dolan for Gath (50), E Parlon for Murphy (60).
REF: J Keenan (Wicklow)