Hurling & Camogie

Offaly recover from slow start to beat Kildare

Eoghan Cahill scored 11 points in Offaly's win over Kildare Picture by Seamus Loughran
Eoghan Cahill scored 11 points in Offaly's win over Kildare Picture by Seamus Loughran Eoghan Cahill scored 11 points in Offaly's win over Kildare Picture by Seamus Loughran

Allianz Hurling League Division 2A final Kildare 1-18 Offaly 0-24

Offaly are heading back up to Division One of the Allianz Hurling League after they withstood a huge early surge from Kildare in the early stages of yesterday’s Division 2A final, going on to produce a defensive masterclass that completely shut down the Lilywhites’ attack. 

Kildare, who were aiming to reach the top flight for the first time in their history (they spent 10 years in Division 1B in the 1970s), brought a huge crowd of supporters to Portlaoise and the players rewarded that faith with an incredible opening 10 minutes, Gerry Keegan’s superb goal helping them to rack up 1-4 unanswered. 

Gradually, Offaly found their way. Ben Conneely, Ciarán Burke and Jason Sampson took control of their one-on-one battles, Adrian Cleary was outstanding at sweeper, while up front, some excellent scores and general play from Cillian Kiely and Eoghan Cahill pulled them back into contention. 

Eight first-half wides, including several from within 40 metres of the Offaly goal, hurt Kildare badly, as they led by just 1-11 to 0-11 at half-time, having played with the aid of a strong breeze. 

Offaly duly took control of the game over the next 25 minutes, outscoring the Lilywhites by 0-10 to 0-2 with Cleary and Kiely leading the way. 

There was still time for one last Kildare surge as a glorious point from Rian Boran and two David Qualter scores cut the gap to two points, and while Brian Duignan eased Offaly’s nerves with a well-taken strike over the shoulder, it all hinged on a 20-metre free for Kildare with the final puck. 

Kildare goalkeeper Paddy McKenna stepped up and struck it well, but his Offaly counterpart Stephen Corcoran was equal to the challenge, blocking the strike and clearing the danger.

Kildare P McKenna; S Leacy, N Ó Muineacháin, C Shanahan; P Dolan (0-1), R Boran (0-2), Conan Boran; J Byrne (0-1), C McCabe (0-2); Cian Boran (0-2), G Keegan (1-0), D Flaherty (0-3); B Byrne (0-1), J Burke (0-4, 3f),

C Dowling

Subs J Travers for Dolan (50), M Delaney for Flaherty (59), J McKeon for Shanahan (62), D Qualter (0-2) for Burke (63-65, temp), D Qualter for C Boran (65)

Yellow card Dolan

Offaly S Corcoran; D Maher, B Conneely, C Burke; K Sampson (0-2), J Sampson, D King; J Keenaghan, C Kiely (0-4); D Nally (0-3, 0-1 sideline), J Clancy, A Cleary (0-2); E Cahill (0-11, 6f, 1 65), S Dooley (0-1), P Clancy

Subs C Mitchell for Dooley (half-time), P Delaney for J Clancy (45), B Duignan (0-1) for J Clancy (48), Liam Langton for Keenaghan (67)

Referee T Walsh (Waterford)