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Offaly battle hard but ultimately lose out to Limerick

Offaly Hurling

Despite scoring three goals, two of them in frantic 90 second spell in the second-half, Offaly just failed to register their first win of their league campaign against Limerick in the Gaelic Grounds on Saturday evening.

Offaly had a man advantage for the entire second-half but despite getting their noses in front entering the closing stages, Limerick hit six of the last seven points of the game to seal the win.

A slow start to each half also proved costly for Offaly as they took time to settle into the game at the beginning of each half.

Offaly played with the elements behind them in the first-half and were two points ahead at the interval.

Offaly were on the back foot at the start with Limerick hitting six unanswered points in a breathtaking opening eight minutes with Ronan Lynch hitting four frees.

Offaly however managed to settle into the game with Shane Dooley in fine finishing form hitting five points as Offaly closed the gap to two by the midway point of the half, Limerick 0-8 Offaly 0-6.

The sides exchanged points in the next phase of the game with Andrew La Touche Cosgrave edging Limerick 0-12 to 0-9 ahead after 25 minutes. 

Again Offaly responded well and they kept Limerick off the scoreboard for the next ten minutes while adding 1-4 of their own with Shane Dooley finding the back of the net after 27 minutes.

That left Offaly five points clear but Limerick closed the gap with two late points although they were also reduced to 14 men before the break.

Despite having 14 men, Limerick were quick out of the blocks again at the start of the second-half adding two points before Andrew La Touche Cosgrave found the back of the net for the home side. They added another point to move 1-17 to 1-13 ahead with 12-minutes of the half played.

Offaly gave themselves a great chance with two goals in a frantic 90-second spell. Shane Dooley hit the first with the second coming from Oisin Kiely and suddenly Offaly were 3-14 to 1-19 ahead with 54-minutes played.

Unfortunately for Offaly, Limerick hit the next four points to go 1-23 to 3-14 ahead with five minutes left and they hit two of the last three with the game still in the balance to record a 1-25 to 3-15 win.

Offaly host Wexford next Sunday (March 12) in O'Connor Park still in search of their first win of the campaign. Their last game in the group is on March 26 away to Kerry.

LIMERICK: David McCarthy; Sean Finn, Richie McCarthy, Mike Casey; Seamus Hickey, Diarmaid Byrnes, Declan Hannon; Pat Ryan, John Fitzgibbon; Gearoid Hegarty, David Dempsey, James Ryan; Andrew La Touche Cosgrave, Ronan Lynch, Seanie Tobin. Subs: Darragh O’Donovan for Pat Ryan (54mins), Graeme Mulcahy for Seanie Tobin (56mins), Stephen Cahill for Sean Finn (60mins), Alan Dempsey for Andrew La Touche Cosgrave (63mins).

OFFALY: James Dempsey; Paddy Rigney, Micheal Cleary, Paddy Delaney; Sean Ryan, Dermot Short, Ben Connelly; Conor Doughan, Padraig Guinan; Oisín Kelly, Shane Dooley, Sean Cleary; Peter Geraghty, Cillian Kiely, Emmett Nolan. Subs: Derek Morkan for Padraig Guinan (h-t), James Mulrooney for Cillian Kiely (48mins), Adrian Cleary for Peter Geraghty (48mins), Liam Langton for Emmet Nolan (60mins), Stephen Quike for Sean Cleary (69mins).

REFEREE: Fergal Horgan (Tipperary)

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