Dan Ravenhill, brilliant in the Offaly attack
THE real business starts from here on in but Offaly certainly did their confidence no harm at all as they strolled past Antrim in the Leinster Minor Hurling Championship quarter-final at Dowdallshill, Dundalk on Saturday afternoon.
Leinster Minor Hurling Championship quarter-final
The winners ran riot in the second half for a convincing and impressive win, setting up a semi-final clash against Dublin or Kilkenny.
Obviously that will represent a much tougher assignment for Offaly and they will be underdogs for it but a highly rated team are moving well and this win will bring them on further. They will be hopeful of giving it a real good ratle and Offaly played some very good hurling here.
This was an important hurdle to jump as Offaly had played three earlier games but the stakes had not been high with all teams progressing out of their group. The belief that they would be way too strong for Antrim proved to be well founded but they still had to hurl and perform to advance.
They certainly did this and 3-21 was impressive scoring. Offaly didn't have everything their own way in the first half. Pouring rain made conditions difficult at the start and it took Offaly a while to settle into the pace of the game, to get their intensity levels right.
Goals from their two star men, Adam Screeney and Dan Ravenhill helped Offaly to a 2-7 to 0-8 half time lead – Ravenhill's goal came from a penalty.
A great Adam Screeney goal after fine approach play by Donal Shirley had put Offaly 1-3 to 0-1 ahead after seven minutes but Antrim then had their best spell. They got the next four points to bring it back to a point but Dan Ravenhill's 20th minute penalty goal put Offaly back on the right road.
There was no doubt that Offaly were the better team but Antrim were hanging in there and there was plenty of work to be done for the second half.
In the second half, Offaly got on top in all sectors. They played some excellent hurling, spraying the ball around well and playing to their strengths.
Antrim only managed three points in the second half. One of those was the first score of the half and cut the deficit to four points but that was the high point of their afternoon. Offaly went on a spree, scoring 1-9 without reply. The goal came from the very on form Screeney and Antrim had no answer to Offaly's pace and hurling.
The game was over as a contest well before the final whistle and Offaly had the luxury of emptying their bench late on. They won pulling up as Antrim's heads dropped and the second half was really shooting practice for them.
It was a fine team performance for Offaly but once against Adam Screeney and Dan Ravenhill were the two star men. They were brilliant in the attack, registering 3-15 between them and getting all of Offaly's scores in a first half where they had not opened up full throttle – they have been in great form throughout the championship and will now be marked men for the semi-final.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Dan Ravenhill (Offaly): A toss of the coin between Adam Screeney and Dan Ravenhill. Both were absolutely deadly but Ravenhill just edges it as he was involved the whole way and set up a lot of scores.
Offaly: Adam Screeney 2-7 (3f), Dan Ravenhill 1-8 (Goal from a penalty and 4f), Shane Rigney 0-2, Niall Furlong, Daniel Hand, Leigh Kavanagh, Ter Guinan 0-1
Antrim: Jack McCloskey 0-7 (6f), Malachie McGibbon, Darragh Kelly (“65”), Joseph McLoughlin, Cormac McKeown 0-1 each.
OFFALY: Liam Hoare (Carrig and Riverstown); Caelum Larkin (Carrig and Riverstown), James Mahon (Kilcormac-Killoughey), Ted Guinan (Kilcormac-Killoughey); Donal Shirley (Tubber), Ruari Kelly (Lusmagh), Brecon Kavanagh (Kilcormac-Killoughey); Leigh Kavanagh (Kilcormac-Killoughey), Cillian Martin (Tullamore); Shane Rigney (St Rynagh's), Dan Ravenhill (Durrow)m Conor Doyle (Clara); Shane Connolly (Coolderry), Daniel Hand (Kilcormac-Killoughey), Adam Screeney Kilcormac-Killoughey). Subs – Cathal Robinson (Kinnitty) for Connolly (H/T). Niall Furlong (Tullamore) for Kavanagh (50m), Paddy Dooley (Kinnitty) for Larkin (55m), James Liffey (Shinrone) for Rigney (55m), Richard Bracken (Kilcormac-Killoughey) for Martin (59m),
ANTRIM: Joe McNaughton; Ciaran McAlistair, Cailin Devlin, Ciaran McAllister; Malachi McGibbon Aodhan McGarry, Liam Glackin; Padraig McMcIlwaine, Darragh Kelly; Joseph McLaughlin, Darragh Paterson, Cormac McKeown; Orrin O'Connor, Lorcan Phillips, Jack McCloskey. Subs – Kevin O'Boyle for Phillips (42m), Niall Magee for O'Connor (59m), Donal Martin for McGibbon (60m).
Referee Conor Daly.
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