Hard Working And Honest Offaly Take On The Dubs More In Hope Than Confidence
Thursday, 30 March 2017
OFFALY supporters will be traveling more in hope than confidence when they make the short journey to Portlaoise tonight (Wednesday, March 29) for the Leinster U-21 Football Championship final against Dublin, who are aiming for their fourth title in a row at this grade.
Offaly have done really well to reach the final and their progress here has given the game a badly needed boost with the senior footballers in a desperate dogfight against relegation.
Offaly performed very solidly in their wins over Wexford and Laois, with the Wexford game played on an atrocious night for football while they played very well for forty minutes against Laois, before ending up hanging on for a 2-9 to 2-8 win.
Offaly have a lot going for them with a real work ethic throughout the field while players such as Adam Mahon, Jordan Hayes, Jack Walsh, Shane Tierney and Ruari McNamee have been in great form.
They enter the final with a decent outside chance but Offaly fans will also be bracing themselves for the worse. Dublin have emerged as a near invincible force at provincial level in recent years while Offaly still harbour painful memories of the Leinster Minor Football Championship semi-final between the two teams three years ago.
Offaly went into that game with a lot of hype behind them but suffered a devastating 6-13 to 0-6 defeat and while both teams have undergone considerable change since then, a lot of the same players will line out in O'Moore Park.
Dublin's key player is dual star Con O'Callaghan and just as he did against Offaly three years ago, he destroyed Longford in last Wednesday's semi-final, scoring 2-5, 2-2 from play and running their show.
Curbing him will be instrumental to Offaly's chances as will be the midfield battle, where they will be hoping to get a plentiful supply into a forward line where there is a lot of scoring potential.
See page 31 and 30 for a preview of the big game.
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