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U20 Hurlers lose out to Offaly by a point in Leinster Opener

U20 Hurlers lose out to Offaly by a point in Leinster Opener

Sat, 30th March 2024

Pic courtesy to Des Pearson

DUBLIN 2-14 


It proved a disappointing conclusion for Dublin in their Leinster Under 20 Hurling Championship Tier 1 Group 1 clash at Parnell Park on Saturday afternoon as they succumbed to Offaly by the narrowest of margins.

There were some encouraging signs for Dublin in the first-half but an Adam Screeney goal in the 29th minute was tangible reward for Offaly’s greater threat from open play.

Second-half goals by Ollie Gaffney and David Purcell saw Dublin draw level in injury time but a late Barry Egan point saw the visitors prevail by the final whistle.

The heavy showers that fell before and during the contest mitigated against free-flowing hurling with the hosts, in particular, prone to handling errors in the slippery conditions.

Offaly were slightly sharper in that regard as they opened the scoring through a Screeney free in the 3rd minute before Dan Bourke doubled their lead with a tidy effort from play three minutes later.

Indeed, the visitors could have been further ahead but for the normally reliable Screeney hitting the upright twice from placed balls before dragging another free wide in the opening ten minutes.

Dublin finally opened their own account in the 12th minute through a Diarmuid Ó Dúlaing free and the Commercials player restored parity two minutes later with another straightforward free from in front of the posts.

Screeney and Ó Dulaing traded frees as we moved into the second quarter with the lively Bourke clipping over another smart score to edge the visitors back in front by the 17th minute.

Despite Brendan Kenny popping over Dublin’s first score from play in the 20th minute, Offaly were beginning to take control of matters as Bourke, Shane Rigney and Screeney all clipped over points in the ensuing three minutes.

While Ó Dúlaing replied with a long-distance free in the 27th minute, their opponents hit back immediately through Cathal King before Screeney burst through before firing a powerful effort that whizzed past Kevin Hogan in the Dublin goal.

Crucially, from a Dublin perspective, they bounced back relatively well from this body blow with Ó Dulaing (free) and Jamie Conroy point in added time to limit the damage to 1-9 to 0-7 by the break.

The contest resumed with David Purcell trimming Dublin’s deficit with an excellent score within forty seconds but Donal Shirley replied in kind for the visitors a minute later.

Offaly continued to impress as they added further points through Bourke and Rigney with Screeney converting a facile free to leave Dublin trailing by double scores (1-13 to 0-8) by the 39th minute.

However, a defensive error from the visitors handed Dublin a lifeline two minutes later as Ollie Gaffney nipped in before batting a precise finish past Liam Hoare in the Offaly goal.

Successive points from Purcell and Eoin Keys added to Dublin’s momentum by the end of the third quarter but a trio of unanswered Screeney frees punctured that optimism in an instant, or so it seemed.

A Gaffney point brought fresh life to the home challenge as a wonderful solo goal by Purcell as he slalomed through the Offaly defence before shooting low past Hoare.

Conroy and Conn Rock saw Dublin level matters by the 61st minute but Egan was to have the final word in a thrilling conclusion to an absorbing encounter.

Scorers – Dublin: D Ó Dúlaing 0-6 (6f), D Purcell 1-2, O Gaffney 1-1, J Conroy 0-2, E Keys, B Kenny, C Rock 0-1 apiece. Offaly: A Screeney 1-8 (0-7f), D Bourke 0-4, S Rigney, B Egan 0-2 each, D Shirley, C King 0-1 apiece.

Dublin: K Hogan; C Kennedy, E Keys, C Groarke; C Dolan, C Walsh, B Kenny; J Conroy, S Crosbie; D Ó Dúlaing, C Rock, O Gaffney; L Garrigan, D Purcell, C Newton. Subs: J Kinnane for Crosbie (30), C Stacey for Garrigan (46), F Murphy for Walsh (50), N Hogan for Ó Dúlaing (60).

Offaly: L Hoare; P Taaffe, J Mahon, R Kelly; B Kavanagh, B Miller, D Shirley; C King, T Guinan; S Rigney, D Ravenhill, C Spain; D Bourke, B Egan, A Screeney. Subs: E Burke for Ravenhill (30+1), C Larkin for Taaffe (57), E Bailey O’Brien for Burke (57).

Referee: Matthew Redmond (Kildare).

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