Any remaining hopes the Offaly Senior Hurlers had of reaching the Division 1B Final or gaining promotion disappeared last Sunday as they suffered a second-half hammering at the hands of Limerick.
Allianz National Hurling League Division 1B
After 25 minutes things looked to be going well for Ollie Baker’s side as with the wind at their backs they lead by 2-7 to 0-5.
However the tide turned in the final ten minutes of the first-half as Liemerick got back to within five with three unanswered points and they continued that trend with the wind in the second-half scoring seven unanswered points to move into the lead.
Offaly were given a glimmer of hope when Colin Egan found the back of the net but Limerick never broke stride continuing to fire over points to secure the win.
Graeme Mulcahy opened the scoring for Limerick but Offaly’s response was emphatic as they hit back with 2-3 inside the first ten minutes to take control of the game.
Both goals came from Shane Dooley, one from a penalty, and the home side looked to be on their way to a pivotal win.
In the next 15 minutes the sides exchanged four points apiece but Offaly were still in a strong position as the game progressed.
However, from the 25th minute on, Offaly only managed to add another 1-1 to their total while Limerick rattled off scores at their ease.
They registered three points without reply before to reduce the gap to a much more manageable five points, 2-7 to 0-8 with the benefit of the wind to come in the second-half.
Limerick reeled off seven unanswered points after the restart putting them 0-15 to 2-7 ahead with 51 minutes on the clock.
Offaly, who welcomed back some of the Kilcormac/Killoughey contingent who had featured the week before in the All Ireland Club Hurling Final, were struggling at this point when a goal for Colin Egan seemed to get them a foothold back in the game.
It proved to be a false down however as Limerick calmly went about their task adding another six points to just one in reply for Offaly to seal the win.
Offaly travel to Casement Park, Belfast next Sunday (Easter Sunday, March 31st) to take on Antrim in their final Division 1B assignment, while Limerick, who boast a 100% record and are already through the Division 1B Final, entertain Wexford at home. .
Scorers: Offaly – Shane Dooley 2-6 (1-0 penalty, 0-4 frees), Colin Egan 1-0, Cathal Parlon 0-1, Brian Carroll 0-1. Limerick – Derek Hannon 0-4 (frees), Graeme Mulcahy 0-4, Conor Allis 0-4 (0-2 frees), Kevin Downes 0-3, Seamus Hickey 0-2, Paul Browne 0-2, Gavin O’Mahoney 0-1, Wayne McNamara 0-1.
Offaly: James Dempsey; Chris McDonald, David Kenny, Paul Cleary; Derek Morkan, Rory Hanniffy, Kevin Brady; Ciaran Slevin, Brian Carroll; Colin Egan, Conor Mahon, Sean Ryan; Shane Dooley, Cathal Parlon, Thomas Carroll.
Subs.: James Mulrooney for Parlon (47 mins), Ger Healion for S Ryan (60 mins), Tomas Bolger for Carroll (65 mins), Dermot Mooney for Slevin (65 mins).
Limerick: Nickie Quaid; Alan Dempsey, Richie McCarthy, Shane O’Neill; Paudie O’Brien (capt.), Wayne McNamara, Gavin O’Mahoney; Paul Browne, James Ryan; David Breen, Seamus Hickey, Conor Allis; Kevin Downes, Declan Hannon, Graeme Mulcahy.
Sub.: Mark Carmody for O’Neill (31 mins), Tommy Quaid for Breen (65 mins).
Referee: Alan Kelly (Galway).