Offaly bow out after crushing 24 point defeat to Waterford

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Offaly bow out after crushing 24 point defeat to Waterford thumbnailA dejected James Dempsey pictured after Offaly conceded a goal to Waterford. OH27-21457

OFFALY'S Senior Hurlers Championship season came to a shuddering halt on Saturday as Waterford came to Bord Na Mona O'Connor Park and inflicted a 24 point defeat in the All-Ireland qualifiers. Despite being level after 20 minutes, Offaly unravelled and Waterford smelled blood as they scored at will for the remainder of the game.
Kevin Ryan admitted after the game, that after 20 minutes, playing against the wind, drawing the match, Offaly were in a good place before errors set in a team like Waterford were always going to capitalise.
"We had a decent game-plan and we were going well for 20, 22 minutes. Then, just, it is different level and people just have to accept it. I know I am getting criticism for saying we got to realise where it is at," explained the Waterford native.
Offaly deployed two sweepers and even three at times in a bid to stem the goals. It worked to a degree but Waterford were well able to score from distance given the strong wind they had in the opening half and the time and space they had out the field on the ball.
Having shipped eight goals to Tipperary in a challenge game before the Galway game and conceded three in 15 minutes to Waterford in another challenge game, they certainly shored up in that department but in Galway and Waterford, they came up against confident players who could score when given the chances.
Offaly hardly laid a glove on them in the second half. Top scorer and main threat - Shane Dooley had to go off at half time with a thumb injury and with that went any slim hope of overcoming a 1-18 to 0-8 half time deficit.
Aside from James Dempsey and Ben Conneely, you couldn't pick out any other Offaly players that won their battles. Dempsey made a few top class saves while Conneely held the highly rated Shane Bennett to just one score, even if it was a goal two minutes before half time.
Kevin Ryan is eager to get going for 2018 and is already planning on attending club games in an attempt to patrol the County for talent and those lads who need a push to get involved. He has a massive task ahead of him but he is a determined man.
The Offaly Senior and Intermediate Hurling Championships will resume on the weekend of the 15th of July.
See pages 66 and 67 for reports on Saturday's big defeat.


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