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Offaly wake from slumber in nick of time

OFFALY 2-15 DUBLIN 2-14 All-Ireland SHC Qualifier INJURY-TIME points from Damien Murray and Aidan Hanrahan saved Offaly's blushes at Parnell Park on Saturday afternoon, as they struggled to put away a vastly improved Dublin side.

Dublin, who trailed by 10 points with just 25 minutes left on the clock, fought back as Offaly switched off, and a strike from sub Stephen McDonald two minutes from time put the Dubs in front for the briefest of periods before Offaly's late heroics.

Such drama seemed far from possible after a first-half that was dominated by Offaly. Dublin haven't won a league or championship game all season long, and with such an unenviable record, the last thing they needed in this game was to get off to a bad start, but with less than two minutes on the clock, they had already found themselves five points adrift.

Offaly's first score came after just 40 seconds when Mick O'Hara fired over.

Next came the game's opening goal, which was orchestrated with clinical precision, as Gary Hanniffy and Aidan Hanrahan combined fluidly to set-up Dylan Hayden who rattled the Dublin net. Offaly's second goal came in the 28th minute when Brendan Murphy showed good awareness to pick out Michael Cordial after a powerful run, and from close range, Cordial was able to place a low-effort beyond Gary Maguire as the Faithful led 2-7 to 0-6 at half-time.

However, the introduction of Liam Ryan and Peadar Carton posed greater questions for the Offaly defence as the Dubs came back strongly to sneak in front before Offaly's late winning brace.

SCORERS - Offaly: B Carroll 0-8 (4f), D Hayden, M Cordial 1-0 each, A Hanrahan 0-2, M O‘Hara, B Whelahan (1f), S Brown, B Murphy, D Murphy 0-1 each. Dublin: E Carroll 0-5 (1f), S McDonald 1-1, P Carton 1-0, D Sweeney (1 sline), K Flynn 0-2 (2f), M Carton, D Russell, C Meehan, R Fallon (1 '65') 0-1 each.

OFFALY - B Mullins; K Brady; G Oakley, P Cleary; Brian Whelahan, R Hanniffy, B Teehan; M Cordial, G Hanniffy; B Murphy, M O'Hara, S Brown; B Carroll, A Hanrahan, D Hayden. Subs: N Coughlan for O'Hara (56), D Murray for Brown (58), J Brady for Oakley (65), Barry Whelahan for G Hanniffy.

DUBLIN - G Maguire; G O'Meara, S Hiney, J Cullen; D O'Reilly, R Fallon, G Bennett; D Sweeney, D Russell; E Moran, J Kingston, T Moore; E Carroll, M Carton, K Flynn. Subs: C Meehan for Cullen (31), L Ryan for Russell (40), S McDonald for Kingston (42), P Carton for M Carton (48).

REF - J McDonnell (Tipperary).

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