Next Sunday in O’Moore Park is a pivotal day for Offaly GAA as the county’s senior hurlers and footballers look to keep their interest in the Leinster Championship alive.
Ollie Baker’s hurlers are just one game away from the provincial final while Tom Coffey footballers begin their campaign at the quarter final stage against Kildare.
The hurlers have a clean bill of health for their showdown with Galway after all the players came through unscathed in the quarter-final against Wexford.
Offaly showed flashes of what they are capable of that day but in the end they were holding on and needed a goal-line save from Rory Hanniffy from a well struck 21 metre free as the game ticked into injury-time to preserve their win.
The fact that they did manage to hold on however should give the players a timely shot of confidence as they prepare to face Galway who had struggles of their own in their quarter-final against Westmeath. Leading 1-11 to 0-5 at the break, Anthony Cunningham’s side were outscored in the second-half by 4-8 to 4-7.
David Collins and ace marksman Joe Canning both missed that game but are expected to return against Offaly which will considerably strengthen the Tribesmen’s hand.
The hurling game is the first part of the double header with throw in at 2pm.
While the hurlers are at close to full strength, Offaly footballer manager Tom Coffey faces an anxious week as he waits to see if a number of key players have recovered from niggling injuries.
Already ruled out is talisman Niall McNamee who continues his recovery from a long term groin injury while his Rhode club-mate Mark Dunne is also set to miss the game due to broken ribs. Former Laois minor star Dunne had been called into the panel by Coffey and he was set to make his championship debut on Sunday.
Of the rest of the walking wounded, Richie Dalton looks set to start but doubts remain over Alan McNamee and Niall Smith and if one or both do miss out, it will limit greatly the options open to the manager in the middle of the field.
Tickets are on sale tonight (Tuesday) and tomorrow (Wednesday) from 7pm to 8pm each night. Stand tickets are priced at €25 with tickets for the terrace at €15.
Family tickets are available for the stand and the terrace while students and OAPs are required to purchase full price tickets but can claim a rebate when they produce appropriate ID at the designated stile prior to entry to the stadium.
Adult Club Tickets available for €10 each to the Terrace while Groups Passes are provided for groups of Juveniles U-16 €2 each. One adult is free with every ten Juveniles. Any additional adults pay full price for their tickets.
See pages 88-93 for previews of both the games in this Tuesday’s Offaly Express. On sale across Offaly now!