The Irish News Archive - Sep 13 1998: Offaly skin Kilkenny to bag All-Ireland hurling final glory

HUNTING BIG CATS...Offaly’s Johnny Dooley and Kevin Martin close in on Kilkenny’s Andy Comerford during the Faithful county’s All-Ireland triumph at Croke Park yesterday
The Irish News Archive

Guinness All-Ireland SHC final: Offaly 2-16 Kilkenny 1-13

HUBERT Rigney’s arrival into the Offaly dressing room with Liam McCarthy tucked under his left arm was greeted with an especially loud roar.

Offaly had lifted hurling’s greatest prize despite having lost a Leinster final and arguably, an All-Ireland semi-final too.

These players had just brought the curtain down on the most extraordinary of championships and were revelling in it.

Blood dripping from a gaping wound above his eyebrow, the man who had stood so proudly on the steps of Croke Park just minutes before began to contemplate life as an All-Ireland winning captain.

“Things were going well for us in the second half but it was only in the last three or four minutes that I really knew it was ours. This puts us at the top of the ladder again. It feels fantastic.

“We might have come in the back door but we’re going out the front.”

Stung by the criticism from their former manager Babs Keating, who declared in the run-up to the match that they had “nothing from eight to fifteen”,

Offaly had set about proving him wrong.

None more so than Johnny Pilkington who lit up a cigarette and told how it was done.

“We were so confident, especially when certain people started writing us off. We knew we were better than that and even when we were two points down at halftime, we knew we could take them.

“We all dropped into the half-backs against the wind and Joe (Dooley) went to midfield and had a blinder. Let’s just say this was better than our Leinster campaign.”

Offaly: Stephen Byrne; Simon Whelahan, Kevin Kinahan, Martin Hanamy; Brian Whelahan (1-6), Hubert Rigney (capt.), Kevin Martin; Johnny Pilkington (0-1), Johnny Dooley; Michael Duignan (0-2), Joe Errity (1-2), Gary Hanniffy; John Troy (0-3), Joe Dooley (0-2), Billy Dooley.

Subs: Paudie Mulhare for Hanniffy (30), Darren Hanniffy for Billy Dooley (61), John Ryan for Johnny Dooley (67).

Kilkenny: Joe Dermody; Tom Hickey (capt.), Pat O’Neill, Willie O’Connor; Michael Kavanagh, Canice Brennan, Liam Keoghan; Philip Larkin (0-1), Peter Barry; DJ Carey (0-5), Andy Comerford (0-1), Brian McEvoy (0-3); Ken O’Shea (0-2), PJ Delaney, Charlie Carter (1-1).

Subs: Niall Maloney for O’Shea (61), John Costelloe for Kavanagh (67).

Referee: Dickie Murphy (Wexford).

Attendance: 65,491.


IRELAND’S Sonia O’Sullivan added another title to her astonishing success story this year with victory in the 5000m at the World Cup at the Johannesburg Stadium.

The Cork star followed her double gold medal haul at the European Championships in Budapest and her historic double at the World Cross Country Championships with a clear cut victory in the Johannesburg event.

A slow pace suited O’Sullivan perfectly and she sprinted for home 150 metres from the finish to win in 16:24.52.

But Colin Jackson controversially missed out on $30,000 (£19,000) as Britain’s men were unable to repeat their European performances.

The 31-year-old Welshman was beaten into second place – picking up 20,000 – by just 0.01 of-a-second after Germany’s Falk Balzer got a flier to win in 13.10 seconds.

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