Kevin Martin's Offaly team earned an encouraging win.
Kevin Martin's Offaly team earned an encouraging win.

Allianz HL D1B: Offaly prove too strong for Carlow

Allianz Hurling League Division 1B


By Conor McKenna at Netwatch Cullen Park

Offaly defeated Carlow to pick up their first win of the league campaign, although this result will matter little in the overall context, as both sides will face off in a relegation play off next weekend.

Offaly will have home advantage in that tie, as they have only played two home ties in contrast to Carlow’s three, with that game of upmost importance to both teams.

The conditions were atrocious throughout, with heavy rain combined with heavy snow towards the final stages of the game and in truth it would have been no surprise to anyone if the game had been abandoned.

It was Offaly who opened the scoring courtesy of Conor Langton’s effort, before Martin Kavanagh levelled procedures with a routine free.

Offaly then got the games first goal, with Joe Bergin hitting the target with a well-struck effort which bet the goalkeeper to give his side a three point advantage.

Kavanagh and Bergin traded scores, but three successive scores from the former levelled the game. Martin Kavanagh registered five points in the first 16 minutes, all of which came from place-ball efforts, with Offaly’s discipline costing them dearly.

Colm Gath and Denis Murphy exchanged efforts, but two points from Shane Dooley and Conor Langton gave Kevin Martin’s charges a deserved two point lead at half time, with the score-board reading 1-5 to 0-6 in favour of Offaly.

Jack Kavanagh got the first score of the second half with a decent effort, which was quickly cancelled out by Joe Bergin’s short range free. A further free from Bergin gave Offaly a three point lead, which was almost a healthy lead considering the monsoon like conditions on show.

Shane Dooley then got his sides second goal, after the Tullamore player got on the end of a “65” from Joe Bergin and flicked the ball to the net to stretch his sides lead to six.

Carlow were then awarded a penalty after Ted Joyce was fouled, but Martin Kavanagh put the penalty over the bar and the game was effectively ended as a contest after goals from Joe Bergin and Shane Dooley.

The first goal came courtesy of Bergin in the 53rd minute, after he was set up by Dooley and Bergin made no mistake with the finish.

Dooley then found the net with a simple tap in to stretch his sides lead to eleven moments later and the outcome was never in doubt after this.

Carlow did add a consolation goal courtesy of Seamus Murphy, but Offaly held out for a seven point win, with a late score from James Gorman sealing the victory for his side.

Carlow goalkeeper Brian Tracey hit a late penalty to the left and wide and referee John Ryan blew for full time shortly after.

Scorers for Offaly: Joe Bergin 2-3 (3fs), Shane Dooley 2-1, Conor Langton 0-2, Colm Gath 0-1, James Gorman 0-1.

Scorers for Carlow: Martin Kavanagh 0-6 (5fs, 1 “pen”), Seamus Murphy 1-0, Denis Murphy 0-1, Jack Kavanagh 0-1, Chris Nolan 0-1 (f), David English 0-1 (f).

OFFALY: Eoghan Cahill; Paddy Rigney, Niall Houlihan, Ben Conneely; Damien Egan, Pat Camon, Aidan Treacy; Colm Gath, Shane Kinsella; Joe Bergin, Sean Dolan, Kevin Dunne; Kevin Connolly, Colin Egan, Conor Langton.

Subs: Shane Dooley for Kevin Connolly (13), Craig Taylor for Colin Egan (57), James Gorman for Colm Gath (68), Dermott Shortt for Shane Kinsella (71).

CARLOW: Brian Tracey; Alan Corcoran, Paul Doyle, Michael Doyle; Eoin Nolan, David English, Kevin McDonald; Jack Kavanagh, Sean Whelan; Seamus Murphy, Martin Kavanagh, Edward Byrne; James Doyle, Denis Murphy, Chris Nolan.

Subs: Richard Coady for Eoin Nolan (b/s, 9), Ted Joyce for Denis Murphy (48), Ross Smithers for Martin Kavanagh (55), John Michael Nolan for John Doyle (57), Jon Nolan for Chris Nolan (63).

REFEREE: Johnny Ryan (Tipperary).