Sports

Offaly Hurlers Show Bottle As Wexford Challenge Awaits

Thursday, 9 March 2017

OFFALY suffered their third National hurling league defeat of the year on Saturday when they came away from the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick on the wrong end of a 1-25 to 3-15 scoreline.
Rank outsiders of 14/1 going into the game, Offaly showed that they are not going to roll over and are up for a fight to hold on to their Division 1B status and with other results taken into account, a place in the quarter finals of the league is still very much a possibility.
While Offaly played well and left it all on the field, they will be disappointed that they didn't come away with the points. They led 1-13 to 0-14 at half time while Limerick midfielder John Fitzgibbon was sent off a minute before the break meaning Offaly had a numerical advantage for the second half.
However, Kevin Ryan's charges were left to rue a scoreless opening 14 minutes of the second half during which time, Limerick got their goal and took over the lead.
But Offaly were up for the game and goals from Shane Dooley and Oisin Kelly made it an interesting last 20 minutes.
The game was level with 12 minutes to go but it was the 14 men of Limerick who finished the stronger and won the game with Shane Dooley's haul of 2-11 not enough to quell the Limerick men.
There were plenty of positives for Offaly. Derek Morkan made his competitive return to action when introduced at half time and he showed that he can be a massive asset for the year.
This Sunday, Offaly will host the high flying Wexford under Davy Fitzgerald. A win for Wexford on Sunday will see them promoted to Division 1A with a game to spare but Offaly can go into the game buoyed by their competitiveness against Limerick.
Fair enough, leading at half time and having a man advantage in the second half, you would like to think they could see it out but with two disappointing defeats in the opening two rounds, last Saturday was another step on the performance ladder.
With Wexford heavy favourites to beat Offaly and Limerick and Galway also heavily favoured to beat Laois and Kerry respectively, it would well come down to the last day in Tralee for Offaly to see whether they make a quarter final or have to play a relegation play off.

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