A brilliant goal two minutes from time from Joe Bergin saved Offaly from an embarrassing defeat against 14 man Carlow in Dr Cullen Park on Monday
Allianz Hurling League Division 1B Round 3
Despite being reduced to 14 men after just four minutes, Carlow kept in touch with Offaly throughout the game and with 15 minutes to go they held the lead at 1-9 to 0-8.
Offaly however manged to rally in the closing minutes with Bergin’s goal from a superb overhead strike eventually settling the nerves and putting Offaly on course for a very hardfought victory.
There was little sign of the drama to come in the opening minutes as Offaly opened up a 0-3 to 0-0 lead after nine minutes and they also had the advantage of an extra man after Sean Murphy received a straight red card.
Carlow pulled a point back after 12 minutes through Shane Kavanagh but Joe Bergin responded with two long range frees to leave Offaly 0-5 to 0-1 ahead and in control of the game.
Carlow responded well and a point from John Michael Nolan and two from Shane Kavanagh reduced the gap to a minimum before Sean Ryan pointed for Offaly to leave the visitors 0-6 to 0-4 ahead at the break.
That lead was doubled soon after the restart with two frees from Shane Dooley however 14 man Carlow then went on a scoring run hitting 1-5 without reply to move into the lead with the goal coming from Craig Doyle.
That left them 1-9 to 0-8 ahead but Offaly dug deep and hit back with 1-4 if their own in the final quarter hour to seal the win.
Two points from Shane Dooley and one from debutant Tomas Bolger reduced the gap to one before Joe Bergin doubled on a ball in from Derek Morkan to blast Offaly into the lead. Brian Carroll added a point and Offaly now had the comfort of a three point advantage. Carlow’s Mark Brennan grabbed a late point but it wasn’t enough to change the outcome of the game.
Offaly take on Limerick next Sunday in round 4 at 2pm in O’Connor Park, Tullamore in what is a must win game if they are to keep their hopes of topping the table alive.
Offaly: Shane Dooley 0-5 (0-3 frees, 0-1 ‘65), Joe Bergin 1-2 (0-2 frees), Brian Carroll 0-2, Cathal Parlon 0-1, Sean Ryan 0-1, Tomas Bolger 0-1; Carlow: Marty Kavanagh 0-4 (frees), Craig Doyle 1-0, Shane Kavanagh 0-3 (0-2 frees), John Michael Kavanagh 0-1, Edward Coady 0-1, Mark Brennan 0-1.
Offaly: James Dempsey; Chris McDonald, David Kenny (Capt.), David King; Derek Morkan, Rory Hanniffy, Kevin Brady; Sean Ryan, Brian Carroll; Colin Egan, Joe Bergin, Cathal Parlon; Shane Dooley, Derek Molloy, James Mulrooney. Subs: Odhran Kealey for D Molloy (half time), Dermot Mooney for D King (half time), Thomas Carroll for S Ryan (51 mins), Tomas Bolger for C Parlon (64 mins), Sean Cleary for J Mulrooney (65 mins).
. Carlow: Nicky Roberts; Des Shaw, Eoin Nolan, David English; Alan Corcoran, Richard Coady, James O’Meara; Mark Brennan, Edward Coady; Sean Murphy, Shane Kavanagh, Marty Kavanagh; Craig Doyle, John Michael Nolan, Jack Kavanagh. Subs: Paul Coady for J Kavanagh (46 mins), Padraic Nolan for C Doyle (66 mins).
Referee: Sean Cleere (Kilkenny).