Battling Offaly earn draw against All-Ireland champions Dublin

A good draw to add to the Wexford victory

Justin Kelly

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Justin Kelly

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Justin.Kelly@offalyexpress.ie

Battling Offaly earn draw against All-Ireland champions Dublin

But for some wayward shooting and decision making at times, Offaly could have taken the scalp of the Dubs in Parnell Park on Wednesday night, January 3.

The Faithful spent most of the game in arrears after an early Dublin goal but fought back from five points down at half time to earn a well deserved draw in their O'Byrne Cup clash. 

Offaly made a bright start under the lights at Parnell Park with teenager Cian Johnson grabbing the game's first point in the first minute. 
 
Captain Anton Sullivan doubled Offaly's advantage less than four minutes later before U21 Dublin star Colm Basquel found the net past veteran Offaly keeper Alan Mulhall.
 
The young Dublin charges seemed to be getting the hang of things thereafter and Killian O'Gara popped over a neat score before Basquel raised yet another white flag. The boys in blue led 1-2 to 0-3 after just 11 minutes with the game being played at a lively pace.
 
Dublin stretched their lead to three through Shane Carthy and the Dublin talisman then took the game by the scruff of the neck. He pointed again before Anton Sullivan replied for Stephen Wallace's men, bringing the scores to 1-4 to 0-4 with a little over 20 minutes played. 
 
Dublin then hit another purple patch and unanswered points from Basquel, Kieran Doherty and Gerry Seaver saw their lead grow to a healthy six points, 1-7 to 0-4 by the half hour mark.
 
Offaly refused to lie down late in the half and Cian Johnson nabbed his second point of the game to narrow the gap. Nigel Dunne followed suite but Colm Basquel had the final say of the half, leaving the Dubs ahead at the break on a scoreline of 1-8 to 0-6. 
 
As in the opening period, Cian Johnson grabbed the first point of the second half. Basquel followed but it took until the 43rd minute for Dublin to register that score. 
 
Nigel Dunne hit Offaly back within four shortly after with quickfire points from Cian Johnson and Jordan Hayes bringing the Faithful back within two after 46 minutes, 1-9 to 0-10. 
 
Shane Carthy and Basquel then steadied the ship for Dublin before Joey O'Connor once again put Offaly back in touch on 55 minutes. 
 
Basquel was showing his class all night and tagged on another but Nigel Dunne and Cian Donohoe kept Offaly within touch. Dublin held onto the lead 1-12 to 0-13 with 63 minutes gone.
 
Chris Carthy made the lead three again but Offaly finished with a rattle. The impressive Cian Johnson pointed again and Nigel Dunne, who scored at important times made the deficit just one with four minutes remaining. 
 
Adding to the drama in Parnell Park, Cian Johnson levelled proceedings with his sixth white flag of the evening. That was all she wrote as neither side had the edge to find a winning score. 
 
Stephen Wallace will be very happy with what he has seen here especially his side's battling qualities. They were five behind at half time and could have faded to a noble defeat but they stuck with it and took the game to the young Dublin outfit.