Offaly U-21 hurlers rally to beat Laois in thrilling finale

James Ryan passes ball for Laois against Offaly in the Leinster U-21 HC at O'Moore Park.Picture: Alf Harvey/hrphoto.ie
Offaly’s U-21 hurlers came back from three points down with ten minutes to go to edge past Laois by a point in the Leinster U-21 Hurling Championship quarter-final in O’Moore Park on Wednesday.

Offaly’s U-21 hurlers came back from three points down with ten minutes to go to edge past Laois by a point in the Leinster U-21 Hurling Championship quarter-final in O’Moore Park on Wednesday.

Leinster U-21 Hurling Championship quarter-final

Offaly 2-16

Laois 2-15

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In the glorious sunshine in Portlaoise, Laois had a chance to draw the match with the final puck of the game but a free from Stephen Maher went wide.

Offaly had made the perfect start to the game and lead by 1-4 to 0-0 early in proceedings with the goal coming from Adrian Hynes after points from Stephen Quirke (2), Thomas Geraghty and the opener from Tom Carroll.

Laois however found their form and they hit the next 1-3 with the goal coming from Ben Conroy and points from Stephen Maher (2) and Paddy Purcell.

The game was close fought from there with two points from Stephen Quirke being cancelled out quickly by Laois.

Offaly did pull away again late in the half and they went to the break leading 1-9 to 1-6.

Offaly edged four ahead early in the second-half at 1-11 to 1-7 but Laois then hit their best form of the game with points from PJ Scully and two from Stephen Maher.

With the intensity of the game increasing, Paddy Keating levelled the scores before Sean Cleary edged Offaly back in front. 
Laois then blasted into the lead for the first time when PJ Scully blasted to the back of the net to leave the home side 2-11 to 1-12 ahead. Ross King extended the lead to three with ten minutes to go.

However the advantage was short lived as a goal from Stephen Quirke got Offaly on level terms but Ross King edged Laois in front again with his second point.

Two points apiece from Stephen Maher and Stephen Quirke meant Laois were still ahead going into the closing stages before two more points from Quirke put Offaly’s noses back in front.

Laois had one last chance to snatch a draw as time expired but after a lengthy delay for attention to a Laois player, Stephen Maher put his free from 55 metres agonisingly wide.

Offaly will now face Kilkenny in the semi-final.