Sunday 18 March 2018

Dooley's heroics in vain as Dublin weather storm

Dublin got off to a winning start in the opening round of the National Hurling League beating Offaly after an intense contest in Parnell Park last night.


Dublin got off to a winning start in the opening round of the National Hurling League beating Offaly after an intense contest in Parnell Park last night.

The first Division 1B clash of the season saw former Clare team-mates Anthony Daly and Ollie Baker come face to face on the line. However, it wasn't to be for the St Joseph's Doora Barefield man as his Offaly side went down 1-20 to 2-16.

Paul Ryan opened the scoring for Dublin with a well-taken free but Shane Dooley equalised for Offaly soon after.

The two sides exchanged points for the opening quarter and although Dublin dominated the play it wasn't until almost 20 minutes in before they started to make their mark on the scoreboard.

Points from Danny Sutcliffe, Joey Boland, Conal Keaney along with a succession of frees from Ryan gave Dublin a 0-9-0-4 lead at the half hour mark.

Offaly fought back with points from James Mulrooney and Shane Dooley however but went in at half time trailing by five points on a score-line of 0-11 to 0-6.

Dublin, who have already won the Walsh Cup this year, seemed out to make amends after being relegated into to the league's second tier last April and they came out strongly in the second half with Conor McCormack getting a point almost directly from the throw-in.

Dooley answered with a point from a free but Dublin's attack persisted. They failed to covert a series of chances before Conal Keaney eventually extended their lead to six points.

Offaly made a comeback after 50 minutes with a couple of well executed frees from Dooley to bring the game back to four points. The momentum swung in their favour and Dooley capitalised to hit the net and reduce the lead.

Dublin reacted in perfect fashion with a super goal from Sutcliffe after a well-timed run from McCormack. They kept tagging on the points to once again regain their six-point advantage.

Offaly fought back with another goal from Dooley, from a free, and Cathal Parlon added a point straight after to bring it back to a four-point game.

However, another free from Ryan gave Dublin a 1-19 to 2-13 lead with six minutes to go. Joe Bergin answered for Offaly with a free of his own but Keaney pointed for Dublin immediately.

Dooley converted a fantastic point from the sideline for Offaly but it wasn't to be and his side lost out by one point.

For this time of year Dublin seemed like a slightly more advanced side however Baker had to make do with a seriously depleted panel along with several retirements and injuries – he was without the services of the six Kilcormac-Killoughey players as they are preparing for their All-Ireland Club Final.

Dublin will be confident going on to face Antrim in two weeks while at the same time Offaly will have another tough test away from home against Wexford.

Scorers – Dublin: P Ryan 0-7 (6f), C Keaney 0-5, D Sutcliffe 1-2, C McCormack 0-3, J McCaffrey 0-1, K Byrne 0-1, J Boland 0-1 each. Offaly: S Dooley 2-9 (1-8f), J Bergin (1f), C Parlon 0-2 each. R Hannify, J Mulrooney 0-1, B Carroll 0-1 each.

Dublin: G Maguire; P Kelly, P Schutte, R Trainor; M Carton, L Rushe, S Durkin; J Boland, K Byrne; C Keaney, J McCaffrey, D Sutcliffe; P Ryan, C McCormack, M Schutte. Subs: D Tracey for M Schutte (55), N Corcoran for P Schutte (58), D O'Callaghan for D Sutcliffe 30, S Lambert for K Byrne (68)

Offaly: J Dempsey; C McDonald D Morkan, D King; D Mooney, K Brady, S Gardiner ; R Hanniffy, S Ryan; B Carroll J Bergin C Parlon; S Dooley J Mulrooney, O Kealey. Subs: C Egan for O Kelly (33), T Carroll for S Ryan (51), D Molloy for B Carroll (65)

Referee: J McGrath (Westmeath)

Irish Independent

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