Dunphy double heaps further misery on Offaly as Laois edge closer to quarter-final berth
Laois 3-17 Offaly 2-16
Laois heaped further misery on Offaly when dismantling their Midland rivals in O'Moore Park tonight with a first-half scoring blitz of 2-7 without reply giving Eddie Brennan's charges a good shout of a quarter-final berth.
Joe Bergin was a late addition to the Offaly line-up and took the fight to the O'Moore men early on as they led 0-4 to 0-3 but the game completely turned after Willie Dunphy's 14th minute goal.
Dunphy capitalised on a mistake in the Offaly defence to unleash an unstoppable shot past Eoghan Cahill before a beautiful team move involving Paddy Purcell and Stephen 'Picky' Maher led to his second just three minutes later.
Kevin Martin's Faithful side couldn't stem the blood and mustered just two points in the final 22 minutes of the half as they went in 13 down at the break, 2-13 to 0-6, having been totally blown out of the water.
Colm Gath's goal three minutes after the resumption gave Offaly some hope with a strong breeze at their backs but only for two fine saves from Cahill, they could have been much further behind.
Maher's rebounded goal in the 51st minute looked to have put things to bed, 3-15 to 1-10, but Offaly didn't throw in the towel and Bergin led the fightback with a late long-range going all the way to the Laois net but it was in vain.
Victory leaves Brennan's men in with a fighting chance of a collecting a knock-out place with next weeks' clash away to Carlow likely to be crucial, while Offaly face a relegation dogfight to save their Division 1B status.
SCORERS – Laois: M Kavanagh 0-10 (7f, 0-1 sideline), W Dunphy 2-0, S Maher 1-2, A Dunphy 0-3, E Lyons, J Lennon 0-1 each
Offaly: J Bergin 1-8 (1-7f), C Gath 1-0, M Egan and S Dooley (1f) 0-2 each, K Connolly, P Murphy, E Cahill (f), P Camon 0-1 each.
LAOIS – E Rowland; J Phelan, M Whelan, D Hartnett; J Kelly, R Mullaney, J Cranny; J Lennon, S Downey; A Dunphy, E Lyons, P Purcell; M Kavanagh, W Dunphy, S Maher.
Subs: M Dowling for W Dunphy (50), C Phelan for Lyons (65), E Gaughan for A Dunphy (68), L Burke for Cranny (70), .
OFFALY – E Cahill; B Conneely, N Houlihan, T Spain; A Flynn, P Camon, E Grogan; S Kinsella, M Egan; D Egan, P Murphy, C Egan; K Connolly, J Bergin, C Gath.
Subs: K Dunne for D Egan blood (35), A Treacy for Spain, S Dooley for D Egan and S Dolan for D Egan (all half-time), P Rigney for Grogan (51), K Dunne for Kinsella (68).
REF – A Kelly (Galway)