Offaly suffer setback in the capital

OFFALY'S focus turned squarely to their upcoming National Football League campaign after their interest in the O'Byrne Cup Shield came to an end at the hands of Dublin in Parnell Park on Saturday afternoon.

OFFALY'S focus turned squarely to their upcoming National Football League campaign after their interest in the O'Byrne Cup Shield came to an end at the hands of Dublin in Parnell Park on Saturday afternoon.

Originally fixed for Saturday evening, the game was brought forward to the afternoon to avoid the possibility of the pitch freezing but in bitterly cold conditions, an understrength Offaly side never warmed to their task and by half-time they were 3-6 to 0-2 behind a Dublin side that was also missing a host of players who will feature in the summer.

The lead at one point was as high as 14 points before Offaly put a run of other scores together in the second-half with the ever dependable Ciaran McManus finishing with three points. He was the only player for the visitors to find the target more than once.

While there are a number of players who were unavailable for selection for Tom Cribbin last Saturday, most notably the Rhode contingent, the manner of the defeat, albeit in little more than a glorified challenge match, will be of slight concern ahead of the league.

A total of nine Dublin players ended with their names on the score-sheet with Tomas Quinn leading the way with 1-4.

Dublin were into their stride from the off and attacked in waves. Their first score was a goal from the penalty spot and they didn't ease off for the rest of the half.

Offaly were first on the scoresheet through Ross Brady but their next point would not come until two minutes before half-time with Dublin hitting 3-5 without reply in the interim.

Straight from the kick-out after Brady's point, Dublin marched down the field and when Graham Cullen was fouled close to goal, Tomas Quinn drilled the resulting penalty to the back of the net past Eoin Brennan.

Quinn added a point soon after and with only eleven minutes on the clock, Offaly conceded a second goal that saw them drop six points behind with Kevin McManamon applying the finish on this occasion.

Dublin were now in complete control and points from Quinn, McManamon, Denis Bastic and the impressive Dean Kelly gave the Metropolitans a 2-5 to 0-1 lead.

With Offaly reeling, Dublin hammered home their advantage when Diarmuid Connolly cut through the middle of the visitor's defence before cooling finishing past the isolated Eoin Brennan.

Two minutes before half-time, Ciaran McManus doubled Offaly's total with a point but Tom Cribbin's were lucky not to go even further behind just before the interval when Graham Cullen had the ball in the back of the net but it was ruled out for a square ball.

Tomas Quinn did round off the scoring for the half for Dublin bringing his total for the half to 1-3 and leaving Dublin 3-6 to 0-2 ahead.

The home side kept their foot firmly on the pedal in the second-half and points from Dean Kelly (2), Declan Lally and Paddy Andrews put Dublin 17 points ahead at 3-10 to 0-2.

Offaly eventually showed some for, with points from Nigel Dunne, Sean Ryan, last year's minor captain Noel Andrew Graham and a brace for a man almost twice Graham's age, Ciaran McManus.

However those scores only served to put a small semblance of respectability on the scoreline as points from Graham Cullen, Tomas Quinn and Alan Hubbard saw Dublin run out 3-13 to 0-7 victors.

Dublin: Stephen Cluxton; Alan Hubbard, Sean Murphy, Darren Daly; Declan Lally, Paul Casey, Conor McKernan; Denis Bastic, Colm Murphy; Diarmuid Connelly, Kevin Bonner, Dean Kelly; Kevin McManamon, Graham Cullen, Tomas Quinn. Subs: Adrian Darcy for Kevin McManamon (31mins), Paul Flynn for Diarmuid Connolly (35mins), Paddy Andrews for Kevin Bonner (44mins), Willie Lowry for Darren Daly (46mins), Darragh Stapleton for Conor McKernan (55mins).

Offaly: Eoin Brennan; Ger Rafferty, Scott Brady, Sean Pender; Niall Spain, Karol Slattery, Ross Brady; Padraig Bracken, Richie Dalton; Noel Andrew Graham , John Reynolds, Ciaran McManus, Nigel Dunne, John Coughlan, Ken Casey. Subs: James Keane for Sean Pender (31 mins), Graham Guilfoyle for Richie Dalton (35mins), John Mollen for Ross Brady (35mins), Sean Ryan for Padraig Bracken (52 mins).

Referee: Joe Curley (Meath).