13 Man Offaly Falter As Laois Gain Valuable Points

Thursday, 23 February 2017

13 Man Offaly Falter As Laois Gain Valuable Points thumbnailShane Dooley comes under pressure from Paddy Whelan of Laois.

OFFALY are still without a win in this year's National Hurling League after they were put to the sword by Laois on Saturday night. With Sean Gardiner and Aidan Treacy sent off either side of half time, Offaly were battling the numbers game as well as the scoreboard.

Laois ...1-26
Offaly ...1-20

Offaly now have a week off from league action before games against Limerick away, Wexford at home and on the road to Kerry to salvage something from this league campaign.

The game on Saturday night was an even enough affair with Offaly showing plenty of fight to not go down tamely. Offaly actually outscored Laois by a point when it was 15 v 13 but a seven minute spell before half time proved to be a defining period in the game.

With the sides level, Laois went on to close out the half 0-5 to 0-1 while Offaly also lost Sean Gardiner to a straight red card just before the half time whistle. Going in 1-12 to 1-8 up at half time was a big boost for Laois and they held on to that four point cushion for the remainder of the game.

Another loss sure enough but did we see something that might ignite an Offaly fire again? Discipline let them down but the manner in which the remaiming players battled for the cause gives hope for league containment and championship ambition.

Laois won, that you can't deny. While it would be easy to scold them for two league beatings in a row but we did see that bit of Offaly 'rise it up' to inject supporters hearts that all is not lost.

Offaly got a great start and raced into a 1-2 to 0-0 lead inside seven minutes with Oisin Kelly taking a pass from James Mulrooney to find the net either side of two well taken points from Peter Geraghty.

That start was undone in the space of two minutes as points from Stephen Maher and Cha Dwyer were followed by Neil Foyle rounding Conor Doughan and crashing to the net to level the game.

The hurling was tough as both sides hammered in. Points were exchanged with a superb effort from Cillian Kiely from out on the sideline in the 16th minute rousing the Faithful men.

By the time Stephen Maher and Shane Dooley exchanged frees, the sides were level 1-6 each on 23 minutes. Offaly briefly took the lead before Laois levelled and kicked on in the closing seven minutes of the half.

Two from Cha Dwyer and three from Maher kicked them on while Maher's final point of the half from a free came as a result of Sean Gardiner swinging and striking Cian Taylor as he was on route for goal earning the Lusmagh man a red card.

From being right in the mix, Offaly were a man down and four points down at half time - 1-12 to 1-8.

It didn't get any easier at the start of the second half with three Laois points inside the opening five minutes and Aidan Treacy also seeing red for an off the ball incident.

With 20 minutes to play, Offaly were battling to the hilt but were trailing 1-19 to 1-11 as Shane Dooley and Sean Cleary kept them in touch.

Dooley and Kiely kept up the fight with scores but Laois had men in space and found scores at will.

Oisin Kelly had a massive goal chance on 58 minutes but his shot blazed over the bar as Offaly trailed by eight points with 10 minutes to go. They battled hard in the final 10 minutes once again to get it back to a six point margin in the end as Laois picked up the two points to give former Offaly manager Eamonn Kelly his first league win for Laois.


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