Tipp too strong for Offaly

November 8, 2018

All-Ireland SHC Qaulifier: Tipperary 0-21, Offaly 1-12

Eoin Kelly claimed 11 points as Tipperary overcame Offaly in Portlaoise to book an All-Ireland SHC quarter-final berth.

Liam Sheedy’s charges looked very impressive throughout and led by 0-14 to 0-05 at the interval, with seven of their players on target.

Offaly side could not curb Kelly’s influence, and Shane Dooley’s injury-time goal was mere consolation.

Joe Dooley’s men had beaten Limerick the previous weekend and played brilliantly in two exciting games against Galway, but did not reproduce that form against last year’s All-Ireland finalists.

Tipp hit the ground running at O’Moore Park, keen to kick from their high-scoring win over Wexford in the first phase of the qualifiers.

And they showed great precision in the opening half, converting 14 of their 18 scoring chances to move comfortably ahead on the scoreboard.

Free-taker Kelly was in good form from placed balls, knocking over four efforts. He was on target in the opening 10 minutes, along with Conor O’Mahony and Gearoid Ryan, as Offaly fell 0-03 to 0-00 behind.

Shane Dooley opened the Faithfuls’ account in the 14th minute, but with a strong wind behind them, the Premier County side cantered ahead.

Scores from Kelly, Brendan Maher, Noel McGrath and Lar Corbett sent them 0-07 to 0-01 clear by the end of the opening quarter.

Offaly pressed hard through the likes of Joe Bergin, Dooley, Derek Molloy and Brian Carroll, but scores were at a premium for the midlanders.

A fourth point from the stick of Kelly opened up a 0-10 to 0-02 lead in the 23rd minute, before Offaly found some rhythm thanks to points from Molloy and Dooley.

However, Tipperary gained the upper hand once more before the break, with Shane McGrath, Gearoid Ryan, David Young and Kelly on target to open up a nine-point gap.

Bergin collected his second point from two early Offaly attacks, as the second half took on a more even feel. But there was no sense of complacency from Tipperary as they claimed three of the next four scores.

Offaly manager Joe Dooley introduced both Ger Healion and Daniel Currams and the shake-up had the desired effect.

Midfielder Dylan Hayden set the Faithfuls off on this purple patch, connecting superbly for a rousing long range point in the 46th minute.

Pointed frees arrived from Shane Dooley either side of a Kelly score, leaving the score-line at 0-18 to 0-10 as the game entered the final quarter.

The high stakes saw the game get heated in the final stages, evidenced by an off-the-ball incident involving a number of players.

Offaly substitute Kevin Brady was barely five minutes on the pitch when he was picked out of the bunch by referee John Sexton who gave him a straight red card.

Kelly and Bergin swapped scores in the closing five minutes with Tipp’s victory now beyond doubt. With their Championship challenge at an end, Offaly managed to sign off with the game’s only goal, scored by corner forward Dooley in the second minute of injury-time.

Scorers: Tipperary: E Kelly 0-11 (0-08f, 0-01 ’65’), G Ryan 0-03, L Corbett, B Maher 0-02 each, C O’Mahony (0-01f), S McGrath, N McGrath 0-01 each.
Offaly: S Dooley 1-07 (0-06f, 0-01 ’65’), J Bergin 0-03, D Molloy, D Hayden 0-01 each.

TIPPERARY: B Cummins; P Stapleton, P Curran, M Cahill; D Fanning, C O’Mahony, Padraic Maher; B Maher, D Young; G Ryan, S McGrath, Patrick Maher; N McGrath, L Corbett, E Kelly.

Subs used: S Callanan for Patrick Maher (56 mins), S Hennessy for Young (61), P Bourke for N McGrath (62), C O’Brien for B Maher (67), J O’Brien for S McGrath (69)

OFFALY: J Dempsey; D Franks, P Cleary, J Rigney; D Kenny, R Hanniffy, D Morkan; B Murphy, D Hayden; B Carroll, J Brady, D Molloy; C Parlon, J Bergin, S Dooley.

Subs used: K Brady for Cleary (20-23 mins, blood sub), G Healion for Parlon (44), D Currams for J Brady (50), K Brady for Hayden (60), O Kealey for Molloy (64).

Referee: John Sexton (Cork)