REACTION: Offaly hurling boss speaks following victory over Meath

REACTION: Offaly hurling boss speaks following victory over Meath

Michael Fennelly and selector Michael Kavanagh in the stand in Navan.

MICHAEL Fennelly was happy with Offaly's display in Sunday's National Hurling League Division 2A win over Meath but he is very aware of the big body of work that remains to be done.

A 3-25 to 3-9 win in Navan represented a big turn around from last year when Offaly scraped past Meath in Birr. It was a step in the right direction but Fennelly was concerned at the concession of three second half goals.

The three of them were soft and all came from down the right hand side of the field as Meath attacked into the town goal. The Offaly manager felt that they got a bit “lackadaisical” when they pulled clear.

“We switched off and went through the motions a bit. It is something to work on. It has happened before and we got penalised for it. We need to keep working for the seventy minutes.”

He added: “We took our foot off the pedal in the last 10/12 minutes and we were all over the place. Meath got in for two goals. It was due to fatique and our fitness levels are not where they need to be. A lack of preparation showed.”

Offaly struggled early on and trailed by 0-6 to 1-2 at the first half water break. Fennelly, however, was not unduly concerned. “Our shot selection was not great. We were shooting on sight and dropping the ball in or wide. We needed more patience or composure but we were hurling well. Meath were hurling well too, they were moving the ball around better than us. The second fifteen minutes was massively important. We kicked on and got some really good scores and a goal. It was our first game and we didn't know how it would go. We performed well, got a good score and only conceded nine points.”

Corner backs Joey Keenaghan and Paddy Delaney went off with early injuries and are unlikely to play against Kerry in Tullamore this Sunday. The Kilkenny man said that both have to get scans this week but went over on their ankles. “We don't know the exact state of play at the moment. Both went over bad. Paddy is not as bad as Joey. Joey is much sorer. We will have to wait and see but they are unlikely to play unless they make a rapid recovery. It normally takes 14 days odd to recover from these injuries.”

Fennelly expects much tougher opposition from Kerry this Sunday. “They are two or three steps up if we are realistic. Meath are a good team and can beat anyone on their day but Kerry are very consistent. Last year, they were in the Joe McDonagh Cup final and they were not far off Antrim. Antrim beat Clare last Sunday, which was not a big surprise to me. Kerry are a big team and have been together a long time. They are quite experienced and are a big challenge for us.”

See Tullamore and Midland Tribune for a preview of the Kerry game.

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