Offaly through to semis02/06/2012 - 21:06:33
Offaly 2-12 Wexford 1-13
Offaly made it through to the Leinster SHC semi-finals, but lived dangerously in t face of a spirited Wexford fightback at O’Connor Park.
The Faithful led by nine points at one stage, but were left hanging on by their fingertips at the end.
Shane Dooley’s 1-8 tally and a Joe Bergin goal broke the hearts of a brave Wexford outfit that looked capable of completing a sensational revival, but fell just short at the end.
An evenly balanced opening 10 minutes had the scores level on three occasions, with Shane Dooley and Wexford’s Paul Morris trading points.
But Wexford stepped up the intensity, and opened up a four points lead after Jack Guiney steered two frees between the posts and Diarmuid Lyng landed a superb score from distance.
They almost had a goal in the 17th minute, Paul Morris sending Lyng clear, but he was denied by goalkeeper James Dempsey with a superb reaction save.
Offaly recovered from a period of heavy pressure, and the recovery set in with an impressive rally, Dooley at the centre of it.
Brian Carroll, Joe Bergin, and Dooley were all on target as they went level by the 31st minute.
Weford did have another goal chance, whenGuiney was unlucky to smash a 20 metre free against the crossbar.
Offaly went level with Dooley’s fourth point in the 31st minute, and he brought his tally to 1-4 on 33 minutes, plucking the ball from beyond the grasp of two defenders to turn and plant the ball in the roof of the net.
Offaly led by 1-8 to 0-8 at the break, and pushed on with a second goal 10 minutes into the second half, Joe Bergin punishing defensive hesitancy with a first-time shot to the net.
Soon, they led by double scores, 2-11 to 0-9, after Brendan Murphy and Doley had rewarded enterprising approach play with unerring finishes.
Keith Rossiter and Ciaran Kenny tried to engineer a Wexford revival from the back, but one of the few attempts on goal they managed saw Harry Kehoe’s shot superbly blocked by David Franks.
They pulled back a goal through Guiney, who blasted a 58th minute free direct to the net, and as play swung from end to end, Dooley was denied a second goal by a splendid Eanna Martin save.
Wexford grew in confidence as the game built towards a critical climax, Gareth Sinnott and Guiney pegging back the Faithful advantage to a flimsy two, and time ran out for the visitors when Guiney’s driven free was stopped on the line by Derek Morkan
Offaly:Subs: S Ryan for Parlon (20), C Hernon for Mahon (65), D Molloy for Murphy (72)
Wexford: E Martin, W Deveraux, K Rossiter, S Murphy, D Redmond, M O’Hanlon, C Kenny, S Murphy, D Lyng (0-2, 1 s/l), G Sinnott (0-1), E Quigley, PJ Nolan (0-1), R Jacob (0-3), J Guiney (1-3, 1-3f), P Morris (0-3).
Subs: E Moore for Deveraux (h-t), D Stamp for Murphy (h-t), H Kehoe for Quigley (43), R Kehoe for Murphy (50)
Referee: J Sexton (Cork).