Wexford Gain Promotion As Offaly Offer Up More Signs Of Hope

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Wexford Gain Promotion As Offaly Offer Up More Signs Of Hope thumbnailCillian Kiely pictured with possession as he is challenged by Wexford’s Shaun Murphy.

WEXFORD tagged on a few late scores to put some gloss on the scoreline but they did what they needed to do on Sunday in beating Offaly and securing their place in Division 1A of the National hurling league for 2018.

Davy Fitzgerald's men were far from convincing as Offaly pushed them to the pin of their collar in another encouraging display from Kevin Ryan's charges.

Offaly could have won the game, the chances were there but you could also point to the 16 Wexford wides and make an argument for them winning by more.

The facts are they won by five points but Offaly travel to Tralee on Sunday week with a win putting them in a quarter final and a draw or defeat condemning them to a relegation play off with Laois or Kerry.

Offaly lost Sean Ryan and Paddy Delaney to injury during the game while Joe Bergin and Shane Kinsella are still not ready to make a return but on a positive note, David King and Stephen Quirke made returns and Derek Morkan got 70 minutes under his belt having returned as a substitute against Limerick last time out.

Offaly had the aid of the breeze in the opening half but it was Wexford that hit the first two points of the game with David Redmond and Paul Morris on target inside three minutes.

Pointless coming into the game, Offaly needed to lay down a marker and they went on to hit the next four scores of the game to go into a 0-4 to 0-2 lead after seven minutes with Dooley (two frees), Sean Cleary and Stephen Quirke all finding the range.

Wexford went back in front, 0-5 to 0-4 in the 17th minute, when Morris landed his second point of the game. Offaly however were not for lying down and two Sean Cleary points either side of another Dooley free gave them a 0-7 to 0-5 lead with 21 minutes on the clock.

Conor McDonald (free) and Jack O'Connor registered points for Wexford to leave it level coming up to the break but with a minute to go, Conor McDonald fetched and struck for goal to leave Wexford in control. Shane Dooley managed another free in first half injury time but it was the Model County who led 1-7 to 0-8 at the break.

Dooley and McDonald traded frees at the start of the second half but Wexford were able to keep their noses in front throughout the second half. Diarmuid O'Keeffe struck over superbly to give them a 1-10 to 0-10 lead on 45 minutes before Offaly were awarded a penalty for what looked like a Wexford defender holding the hurl of an Offaly attacker in a crowded goalmouth area.

Shane Dooley struck the penalty well but Fanning outstretched to his right and knocked it out for a '65' that Dooley duly converted. Fanning's save roused his team mates and and they hit the next three scores of the game to leave them 1-13 to 0-11 ahead with 10 minutes to go.

Once again, there was fight in Offaly and they had it back to a two point game again with three minutes to go before another late Wexford, rally that saw them puck the final three points of the game, saw them home.


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