Dark day for Offaly hurling as they are relegated to Christy Ring Cup
Joe McDonagh Cup: Kerry 1-18 Offaly 1-16; Laois 1-22 Westmeath 1-22
OFFALY GAA endured one of the blackest days in its history on Saturday as defeat for the hurlers in Kerry confirmed their relegation to the third-tier of the Championship for 2020.
The Faithful county’s cause wasn't helped when Peter Geraghty was sent-off in the seventh minute at Austin Stack Park and matters didn’t improve when they had a penalty saved four minutes later. A goal on the brink of half-time set the home side up for a 1-7 to 0-6 lead, despite Offaly playing with a stiff wind.
Shane Dooley's goal four minutes after the restart hauled Offaly back into contention and from there to the end it was a battle of wills, with both teams guilty of several missed scoring chances.
A draw would have secured Kerry’s safety and with Offaly unable to engineer a second crucial goal the Kingdom finished the campaign with a result that is as valuable to them as it is damaging to hurling in the Faithful county.
In Saturday’s other game, Laois and Westmeath played out an entertaining draw at O'Moore Park in what was a dress rehearsal for the McDonagh Cup final in Croke Park in a fortnight.
Eddie Brennan's Laois were staring defeat in the face until Camross star Eoin Gaughan stepped up to nail two late frees to leave the game level at the final whistle.