Tuesday 23 January 2018

Game at a glance

Man of the match

Shane Dooley (Offaly)

While all around him seemed to lose their way, Dooley stayed calm. His accuracy led to a total of 1-12, but his nerve was the real story as he slotted over to send the match to extra-time and save his dad Joe's blushes.

Turning point

There were two -- the two goals before half-time changed the game's complexion and had Offaly scrambling, but Shane Dooley's free was crucial as Antrim ran out of legs in extra-time.

Talking point

Antrim were roundly written off in the build-up, so having run Offaly so close, the real question is whether Antrim were good or Offaly bad? Galway should answer that question in June.

Ref watch

Anthony Stapleton kept a firm handle on the game that threatened to boil over. He made bold calls, but received no mention from either manager at the end. Job done.

They said

Joe Dooley (Offaly Manager):

"Fair play to the lads -- they dug deep. We'd be fearful of going in to play Galway after a performance like that. I went down to Nowlan Park to see them and they were awesome."

Dinny Cahill (Antrim manager):

"You have to be proud of the players. That is a very young team and today was a learning for them. I think they can push on from this. The experience they gained here will stand to them for this year and next year as well." .

Match Statistics

Wides: Offaly 17 (6), Antrim 15 (6)

Frees: Offaly 12(3), Antrim 12(6)

Yellow Cards: Offaly 2(1) (D Molloy, B Carroll), Antrim 4 (1) (P Shiels, K Stewart, K McGourty, G Magee)

Red cards: Offaly: 1(0) (D Molloy), Antrim 0(0). Attendance: 5,000.

What next?

Offaly face the daunting challenge of stopping a rampant Galway in the Leinster semi-final on June 20, while a week later Antrim will play in the Ulster semi-final before returning to the All-Ireland series in the qualifiers.

Irish Independent

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