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U20 Hurlers Suffer Defeat To Offaly In Leinster Final

U20 Hurlers Suffer Defeat To Offaly In Leinster Final

Wed, 22nd May 2024

DUBLIN 1-15 

OFFALY 1-18 

Dublin failed in their bid to win their first Leinster Under 20 Hurling Championship since 2020 when falling to Offaly by three points at Laois Hire O’Moore Park on Wednesday evening.

The Dubs had booked their final berth in Portlaoise a week previously but there was to be no repeat of those joyful scenes as they succumbed to a more experienced Offaly side.

Dublin enjoyed a four-point lead in the early stages of the second-quarter but the concession of a goal to Shane Rigney punctured their optimism as Offaly entered the break with a 1-7 to 0-8 advantage.

Adam Screeney ensured that Offaly kept control of matters after the break with Conn Rock’s clinical finish in added time arriving too late to spare a battling Dublin their fate.

The Dubs played with the benefit of a strong breeze in the first-half and after a typically frantic and scrappy start, it was Brendan Kenny that eventually opened the scoring through a 5th minute point from Brendan Kenny.

His Kilmacud Crokes clubmate David Purcell turned sharply to double Dublin’s lead before Dan Bourke split the uprights from Offaly’s first attack of the game in the 7th minute.

Kenny turned provider three minutes later with a superb pass to Neil Hogan, allowing the Castleknock player time and space to restore Dublin’s two-point lead.

With David Lucey and Kenny hugely influential at the back, Offaly opportunities were limited in the first-quarter but they gained some reward through a Screeney free in the 12th minute.

The ubiquitous Kenny increased Dublin’s lead with a cracking point from inside his own half, highlighting the strength of the wind in the process.

Screeney converted his second free in the early stages of the second quarter but Dublin were beginning to click in attack, as witnessed by points in quick succession from Hogan and Diarmuid Ó Dúlaing.

However, all the momentum that had been generated was lost in an instant in the 20th minute as a sideline ball into the square was fumbled by Jack Behan close to goal and Rigney left Kevin Hogan helpless with a powerful finish from eight yards.

Offaly pushed on from that juncture, adding points through Screeney (2) and Colm Spain in the ensuing six minutes as the contest threatened to get away from Dublin.

There were isolated moments of promise, most notably a sublime point from Neil Hogan in added time but the Dubs had a mountain to climb at the break as they trailed by two points.

That deficit was doubled within the first six minutes of the restart as Bourke clipped over a brace of points but Conal Ó Riain raised Dublin spirits with a glorious point into the win in the 38th minute.

Dublin were handed a great opportunity of their first goal two minutes later when Purcell was impeded inside the square but Ó Dúlaing’s low strike from the resultant penalty was brilliantly tipped around his post by Offaly goalkeeper.

The Commercials player bounced back superbly from that personal setback by converting a brace of ‘65’s within the next two minutes but Screeney kept Offaly on the front foot with points either side of the three-quarter mark.

Dublin continued to commit bodies up front and gained some reward through points by Jamie Conroy, Ó Dúlaing and Kenny but their opponents kept them at arm’s length with scores at the opposite end by Eoin Burke, Rigney, Screeney and Donal Sirley.

Facing a six-point deficit deep into added time, Dublin were handed a broef lifeline as Rock gained possession close to goal and the O’Toole’s player left Hoare helpless with a stunning finish that fizzed into the back of the net.

However, there was no second goal on the horizon for Dublin as Offaly held on without further alarm.

Scorers – Dublin: D Ó Dúlaing 0-6 (2f, 2 ‘65’); B Kenny, N Hogan 0-3 each; C Rock 1-0; D Purcell, C Ó Riain, J Conroy 0-1 apiece. Offaly: A Screeney 0-9 (6f, 1 ‘65’); S Rigney 1-1; D Bourke 0-4 (1f); C Spain, C Doyle, E Burke, D Shirley 0-1 apiece.

Dublin: K Hogan; C Mag Ruairc, D Lucey, C Kennedy; E Keys, C Dolan, J Behan; C Ó Riain, F Murphy; B Kenny, D Ó Dúlaing, D Purcell; O Gaffney, N Hogan, J Conroy. Subs: C Newton for Murphy (30+1), C Rock for N Hogan (47), D Bannan for Keys (49).

Offaly: L Hoare; R Kelly, B Miller, J Mahon; T Guinan, B Kavanagh, D Shirley; C Spain, C King; S Rigney, D Bourke, C Doyle; A Kavanagh, B Egan, A Screeney. Subs: L Kavanagh for Egan (36), E Burke for A Kavanagh (43).

Referee: Caymon Flynn (Westmeath).

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