All-Ireland SHC Qualifier:

November 8, 2018

Offaly hurlers progressed to the next stage of the All-Ireland Championship after four points in a row late in the second half finally killed off a whole-hearted Limerick challenge.


It was Offaly GAA’s second victory of the evening, with the footballers having ousted Waterford earlier.


Offaly would not have been complacent due to the fact that they only narrowly defeated Limerick at O’Connor Park in the National Hurling League this season. Even so, after their exertions against Galway, Offaly were slow into their stride.


Early goal chances by Joe Bergin did not result in a green flag, and it was 0-2 apiece in the 12th minute when Derek Molloy – now recovered from injury – fired to the net.


Cathal Parlon was impressive at corner forward with a couple of points from play and Shane Dooley was on the mark with frees.


Offaly, though, were pegged back with free-taker Thomas O’Brien chipping in with three frees and a ‘65’ for the visitors.


Gradually, Offaly improved and pulled six clear thanks to scores from Brendan Murphy and Derek Molloy. But Limerick got the last two points of the half to leave the score board reading 1-8 to 0-7.


Offaly enjoyed a slightly better start to the second half, with Brian Carroll (twice) and Shane Dooley (free) boosting Offaly’s chances. But Limerick didn’t lie down and Thomas O’Brien came up trumps again with three points, the third of which was from play. As a result, the score was 1-11 to 0-10 12 minutes into the second half.


Offaly looked in control when Brian Carroll, Shane Dooley (free), Joe Brady and Brendan Murphy left Joe Dooley’s men 1-15 to 0-11 in front.


But they failed to close out the game. Limerick hit 1-2 without reply with the ever dangerous Thomas O’Brien, by now at corner forward, slotting home a 59th minute goal.


With the score at 1-15 to 1-13 Offaly had to defend stoutly to prevent a shock Limerick lead. As it turned out, Offaly finished with a flourish as Cathal Parlon, Shane Dooley (free), Joe Bergin and Parlon again gave Offaly a 1-19 to 1-13 victory.


Offaly Scorers: Derek Molloy 1-2; Cathal Parlon and Shane Dooley (frees) 0-5 each; Brian Carroll 0-3; Brendan Murphy 0-2; Joe Brady and Joe Bergin 0-1 each.

Limerick Scorers: Thomas O’Brien (0-5 f, 0-1 ‘65’) 1-7; James V. O’Brien 0-2;  Graeme Mulcahy, Nicky Quaid, Cathal Mullane and Peter Russell 0-1 each.

Offaly: James Dempsey; David Franks, Paul Cleary, James Rigney; Rory Hanniffy, David Kenny, Derek Morkan; Brendan Murphy, Dylan Hayden; Brian Carroll, Joe Brady, Derek Molloy; Cathal Parlon, Joe Bergin, Shane Dooley.

Subs:  Kevin Brady for Hayden; Ger Healion for Molloy.

Limerick: Tadhg Flynn; Shane O’Neill, Cian Hayes, Kieran O’Rourke; Lorcan O’Dwyer, Bryan O’Sullivan, Paul Browne; Thomas O’Brien, Daniel Moore; James O’Brien, James V. O’Brien, Nicky Quaid; Richard McKeogh, Anthony Owens, Graeme Mulcahy.

Subs:  Cathal Mullane for Moore; Andrew Brennan for James O’Brien; Michael Noonan for McKeogh.