Offaly retain Walsh Shield as Bergin points the way to victory

Sixteen points from the stick of Joe Bergin, nine from play, were critical to Offaly overcoming the challenge of Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) in the Walsh Shield Final at O’Connor Park last Sunday.

Sixteen points from the stick of Joe Bergin, nine from play, were critical to Offaly overcoming the challenge of Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) in the Walsh Shield Final at O’Connor Park last Sunday.

Offaly 0-22

DIT 1-14 (aet)

The most important of those 16 scores came in stoppage time when, with Offaly a point behind, Bergin pointed a free from 25 metres to send the Final to extra-time. Indeed DIT had right to be aggrieved at the awarding of that late, equalising free when it appeared the DIT defender in possession was hauled to the ground only to be penalised by referee Anthony Stapleton.

The students took an early lead when Paudge Phelan scored an 11th minute goal and didn’t relinquish that lead until the 64th minute when Joe Bergin tied matters 1-11 to 0-14. With a minute to go Dublin Senior panellist David Treacy restored their lead with a pointed free before Bergin’s late equaliser ensured extra-time.

Offaly took over completely in extra-time and two points from each of Joe Bergin and Brendan Murphy gave the home side a 0-19 to 1-12 lead at half-time in extra-time. The students could have done without an extra 20 minutes in difficult, heavy conditions, given that they are in the middle of a midweek schedule of Fitzgibbon Cup matches. The introduction of Rory Hanniffy at half-time in extra-time gave Offaly an extra bit of class that DIT couldn’t match and three further Bergin points in that period closed the game out.