Offaly go down fighting against All-Ireland champions Galway

Kevin Martin's men put up a brave display despite Galway class

Justin Kelly


Justin Kelly

Offaly go down fighting against All-Ireland champions Galway
Galway 5-18
Offaly 2-15
Offaly's senior hurlers were outfoxed anf ultimately put to the sword by reigning All-Ireland champions Galway in the opening round of the Leinster Championship in front of an attendance of 8,300 at Bord na Mona O'Connor Park on Saturday evening, May 12. 

Offaly got off to an ideal start with a point from a free from Shane Dooley but Galway then took over and hit 1-3 without reply. 

Dooley then knocked over a free before disaster looked to have struck after nine minutes. A long ball dropping into the square led to a foul by goalkeeper Eoghan Cahill and the signs were ominous when Joe Canning stood over the penalty. 
Birr's Cahill was determined not to be beaten and he got down well to deny the Portumna star. From the very next play, a sweeping move from Offaly, Shane Dooley broke free and rattled the net, bringing Offaly back within a point, 1-3 to 1-2.
Dooley again was cool over a free on 15 minutes as he levelled proceedings before the Tribesmen retaliated with a white flag of their own. 
Offaly's direct running and aggressive brand of attack was yielding frees and Dooley was on hand on the 18-minute mark to slot over his fourth free of the game, once again levelling the scores. 
Joseph Cooney was equally as impactful in the Galway forward line and he fired over his third and fourth scores of the game before the 20-minute mark, putting Galway a point ahead once more, 1-6 to 1-4. 
Offaly continued to compete and captain David King was winning huge ball. He sent over an incredible point from midfield after 22 minutes as he drove his charges on. 
Shane Dooley was being handed frees and on 25 minutes he levelled proceedings at 1-6 apiece with a searing effort from yet another placed ball.
Joe Canning returned the favour after a foul by Ben Conneely as the game got increasingly physical nearing the end of the half. 
Just like Pat Camon and Tom Spain were gathering well for Offaly, McInerney and Concannon were winning well in Galway's half back line. The teams hit a number of wides each late in the half as they tried to evade the tough tackling. 
There were plenty of fouls on both sides and Canning sent another one over the bar on the half hour mark to put daylight between the teams for the first time since the Dooley goal, 1-8 to 1-6. 
Not to be outdone, Shane Dooley drew comparisons to John Troy as he side-stepped the Galway defence and rifled over a brilliant point, bringing the deficit back to the minimum. 
Offaly suffered a hammer blow late in the first half as Sarsfields star Joseph Cooney took a handpass from Conor Whelan and rasped a shot to the back of Eoghan Cahill's net. 
Cathal Mannion tagged on another point as All-Ireland champions Galway put some gloss on the first half scoreboard, running in at half time with a 2-9 to 1-7 lead. 
Joe Canning got Galway off to the perfect start in the second half with a free after an overcarry from Tom Spain. Seconds later he was gifted another and the All-Star made no mistake, putting Galway  2-11 to 1-7 in front. 
Offaly were giving up possession around the middle far too easily and on the 41 minute mark, Joe Canning swung over a point from distance, putting eight between the teams. 
The purple patch for the maroon men showed no signs of stopping despite three rallying Offaly points as Brian Concannon netted for Galway, putting his team 3-11 to 1-9 ahead. 
Offaly's resurgence, however, was not over as Joe Bergin fired an immediate green flag in response. Dan Currams followed with a point putting just four between them. 
Galway kept their score ticking and they pushed it out to 3-13 to 2-10 after 48 minutes. Offaly were persevering all over the pitch but Galway were coming by scores that little bit easier. 
They extended their lead once more as Joe Canning fired over another free after 55 minutes and Conor Cooney followed suite with a point from play. 
With eight between the teams once more, Offaly looked up against it with 13 minutes to play. The breaking ball was going against them as the speed and accuracy of Galway emerged in spades.
The game was all but over when Conor Whelan goaled just before the hour mark.
Shane Dooley was the sum total of Offaly's resistance late on with a number of good points but Galway tagged on another few points and a late goal from substitute Jason Flynn, sealing a 5-18 to 2-15 win for the visitors.