Dublin Hurlers reach leinster semi fianal

November 8, 2018


After the high of capturing their first NHL Division 1 crown in over six decades the Dublin hurlers learned that the championship is a different animal as they survived the Offaly challenge to progress to a Leinster SHC semi-final against Galway or Westmeath.

The Dubs did not reproduce the fluidity of some of the hurling they exhibited in the league final, particularly in the closing stages of the victory over Kilkenny, and it took a clinically taken 70th minute goal from sub Peadar Carton, following good work by Dublin’s best performer Conal Keaney, to really ensure victory in Sunday’s provincial quarter-final at Croke Park in front of an attendance of 14,302.

This was Dublin’s first Championship victory over Offaly since 1991 – they have met once since then in Leinster action and four times in the qualifiers.

Anthony Daly’s men led 1-9 to 1-8 at half-time but the momentum was with the Faithful as they closed out the opening half on top with a Shane Dooley goal and point but credit to Dublin they dominated the opening 20 minutes of the second half to almost put sufficient clear blue water between the sides.

Offaly hurled for the concluding 11 minutes with fourteen men following the sending off of midfielder Derek Molloy (second yellow card) but with Joe Bergin beginning to gain at foothold following his move to centre-fowrward the Dubs had many nervous moments over the conclusion of the game.

Dublin had made the ideal start to the game with an Alan McCrabbe point, which was actually wide, and penalty from Paul Ryan but some indecision in their play and failure to find their dangermen with early accurate ball played into Offaly’s hands as the half wore on.

However, the Dubs did raise their game in the second half as the pace and accuracy of their striking improved. The score of the half came in the 53rd minute when Oisin Gough tidied up in defence before finding Alan McCrabbe down the Cusack Stand side, the Craobh man then delivered an inch perfect 80 metre drive to David O’Callaghan who fired over as Dublin showed a glimpse of their ability.

That score pushed Dublin 1-19 to 1-12 ahead and despite Offaly’s fair share of pressure Dublin were not going to buckle – like they did against Antrim last summer – as they progress to a provincial semi-final on Saturday, June 18 and will be hoping the ‘dirty petrol’ is out of their system with this opening championship showing.

SCORERS – Dublin: P Ryan 1-8 (0-8f, 1-0 pen), A McCrabbe 0-3, P Carton 1-0, C McCormack, R O’Dwyer, D O’Callaghan 0-2 each, C Keaney, D Plunkett, S Durkin, S Lambert 0-1 each. Offaly: S Dooley 1-13 (0-11f), J Bergin 0-3, D Hayden, C McMahon, C Egan, D Currams 0-1 each.
DUBLIN – G Maguire; O Gough, N Corcoran, P Kelly; J McCaffrey, L Rushe, S Durkin; M O’Brien, A McCrabbe; C McCormack, R O’Dwyer, C Keaney; P Ryan, D O’Callaghan, D Plunkett. Subs: S Lambert for O’Brien (ht), D Treacy for Plunkett (56), D O’Dwyer for McCormack (60), P Carton for McCrabbe (63), D Curtin for Rushe (69).
OFFALY – J Dempsey; M Verney, D Kenny, S Egan; D Hayden, D Morkan, E Murphy; B Carroll, D Currams; C Mahon, G Healion, C Egan; S Dooley, J Bergin, D Molloy. Subs: C Parlon for Carroll (inj 11), J Mulrooney for C Egan (56).
REF – J Sexton (Cork).