It was a disappointing weekend for Offaly Camogie as the county’s Junior A and U-16 teams crashed out of their respective All Ireland Championships.
The Junior A team lost out to Carlow in Newbridge on Sunday in the Liberty Insurance Junuior A Championship by 5-15 to 3-8 but the final scoreline doesn’t tell the story of the game.
Offaly were by far the better side in the first-half and two goals from Rebecca Hoctor in the opening ten minutes gave them the dream start. They continued to dominate and kept the scoreboard ticking over with points and by the midway point of the half led 2-5 to 0-4. However Carlow rallied with Ciara Quirke hitting 1-4 late in the half to leave the score at the break at Offaly 2-7 Carlow 1-9.
Offaly had dispatched Carlow with ease on their way to the All Ireland Junior A Final last year but this year’s Carlow side is far stronger and they began to take control after the restart.
Marion Doyle scored the first point of the second half and then set up Quirke for her second goal. That score was the turning point as it put Carlow in front and they continued to grow in confidence throughout the second-half.
Carlow captain Eileen Murphy rammed home her side’s advantage with two goals as Offaly struggled to regain the form they had shown in the first-half. The impressive Alison Dooley accounted for all of Offaly’s 1-1 in the second-half but it was not enough to stem the tide as Carlow added a fifth goal from Ail Ruschitzko as they secured their place in the All Ireland Final against Limerick.
Meanwhile Offaly’s U-16 team exited the All Ireland U-16A Championship after suffering a 1-18 to 3-9 defeat away to Wexford.
Offaly made a solid start to the game and were ahead by 0-4 to 0-3 after 15 minutes but Wexford finished the half stronger and were 1-8 to 1-5 ahead at the break. Offaly closed the gap early in the second-half and were just two points adrift entering the final quarter but Wexford kept the scoreboard ticking over with points and had three to spare at the finish.
It was a disappointing end to the campaign for Offaly but it will still go down as a memorable year for the side who won the Leinster U-16A earlier this year.
There was better news for the Offaly Senior team as Kilkenny’s victory over Derry secured Aidan Franks’ side a place in the All Ireland quarter-final.
Offaly will play Cork in that game after the Munster side overcame Galway in their final group game. The tie is due to be played on August 9 with venue to be decided.