Happy but 'plenty more to be done,' says Offaly hurling boss Michael Fennelly after another big win

Happy but 'plenty more to be done,' - says Offaly hurling boss Michael Fennelly after another big win

Michael Fennelly

Manager Michael Fennelly was playing it low key after Offaly continued their excellent start to the National Hurling League Division 2A campaign with a convincing win over Carlow on Sunday last.

It was Offaly's third win in a row, following on from easy victories over Meath and Kerry, and it puts them firmly on course for promotion.

“We are very happy with our last three performances, we hit three good scorelines and we didn't concede a huge amount,” he said, adding: “Carlow only got a point from play in the second half. It is three wins in three games. I am very happy but there is plenty more to be done.”

Offaly didn't play that well in the first half and led by 1-11 to 1-10 at half time. Asked was he disappointed with their error count in that half, the Kilkenny man said: “It was nip and tuck in the first half. Our ball handling was poor at times and we made errors we would not normally have made in the last few weeks. Whether it was fatique or nerves, I am not sure. We were making hard work of it. Oisin (Kelly) got a very important goal and that settled our nerves.”

An Eoghan Cahill goal seconds after the restart put Offaly on the road to victory and Fennelly smiled: “It was a great start. I nearly missed it, I was walking up to the stand. We put our head down after that.”

Offaly now have a week's break before they play Down and then they finish off their campaign away to Wicklow. Fennelly is glad of the break after playing three weeks in a row. “The break will help. There is a lot of fatique there. 23 players have got games and some need a few days rest. Others are eager for training and games. We will work with them and the break will give others a chance.”

He did not go along with the suggestion that Offaly now have their three hardest games over them. “Down beat us last year. I wouldn't say out first four games were our hardest. We have four very hard games and then Wicklow is our fifth as well. We have two really important games coming up, we will prepare well and get our heads and bodies right.”

Fennelly has looked at the league games to date from the stand with selector Michael Kavanagh and he feels the aerial view is a help. However, he also likes the close up involvement of the sideline and being immersed in the emotional side of games. “You can see it well from an aerial view and sometimes you can't see it perfectly from the sideline. There are pros and cons and it is the way we are working at the minute.”

Paddy Delaney came back from injury on Sunday, coming on in the 35th minute and Fennelly revealed that corner back Joey Keenaghan will also be back training this week. Brian Watkins didn't feature on Sunday because of an achilles tendon injury while Adrian Hynes was also ruled out after rupturing a muscle in training. “He could be in trouble, it may be rehab or surgery,” the manager revealed.

Peter Geraghty is three or four weeks away from playing as he tries to repair a bad ankle injury while young Birr man Dylan Watkins is out for the county season after a lateral ligament injury in his knee. Fennelly hopes that Watkins will play club hurling later in the season while he said him and U-20 hurling manager Gary Cahill will be drawing up a plan for managing the load of players who are on both squads.

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