Offaly win NHL Division 2 Fina;
Get your revenge in first might have been the motto as Offaly secured Division One hurling for 2010 and struck a psychological blow over championship opponents Wexford in Sunday afternoon’s Allianz National Hurling League Division Two decider.
The Faithful County recorded a hard-fought three-point victory at Semple Stadium to condemn the Slaneysiders to Division Two hurling once again next year.
Allianz National Hurling League Division Two Final
Offaly 1-13 Wexford 0-13
The two sides will meet at Wexford Park in the Leinster SHC on May 30 and Joe Dooley’s Offaly will go into that game full of confidence after winning this latest battle between the two sides.
Wexford had emerged victorious when the sides met in the group stages of the competition but when it mattered most, Offaly came through despite racking up a tally of 14 wides.
The returns of David Franks and David Kenny strengthened the Offaly defence considerably, while skipper Ger Oakley led by example at centre back.
Wexford ultimately paid the price for a terribly sluggish start as they fell 1-5 to 0-1 behind with just 12 minutes on the watch.
Full-forward Stephen Banville had opened the scoring for Wexford but Offaly responded with 1-5 without reply.
Daniel Currams supplied the Offaly goal after nine minutes as he beat Wexford goalkeeper Dermot Flynn to James Rigney’s speculative centre from the Old Stand side of the field.
Diarmuid Lyng stopped the rot for Wexford with a superbly-struck sideline cut from the New Stand side in the 15th minute, the Model County’s first score since Banville’s opener, before Paul Carley added a free two minutes later.
Offaly hit back to lead by 1-8 to 0-4 after 23 minutes before Wexford put together a run of four unanswered points to cut the lead back to just three points.
Crucially, Offaly responded with a run of three successive scores of their own, a trio of Shane Dooley frees, to ensure a decent half-time platform.
They led by 1-11 to 0-8 at the interval but after playing with the aid of a strong breeze into the Town End during the first half, it seemed that a six-point interval lead might not be enough.
Offaly managed just two points in the second half but the closest Wexford came to their opponents was when midfielder David Redmond reduced the deficit to two points with nine minutes remaining.
At that point, Offaly’s sole second half contribution to the scoreboard was Shane Dooley’s 43rd-minute free but with five minutes remaining, Brian Carroll slotted over his side’s first point for 22 minutes of play.
Offaly held on until the finish for a precious victory but they had goalkeeper Brian Mullins to thank in stoppage time for a smart save at head height to keep out Wexford sub Tomás Waters.
Wexford: D Flynn; M Travers (0-1), P Roche, A O’Connell; M Jacob, S Nolan, R Kehoe; D Redmond (0-1), C Kenny; D Lyng (0-2, both sidelines), A Shore (0-1), P Carley (0-4, 3f, 1 65); R Jacob (0-1), S Banville (0-2), P Kenny (0-1).
Subs: S Doyle for Kenny (47), T Waters for Carley (48), D Stamp for Nolan (63), P Atkinson for Banville (70).
Offaly: B Mullins; D Franks, D Kenny, J Rigney; K Brady, G Oakley, P Cleary (0-1f); R Hanniffy, B Murphy; B Carroll (0-3), J Brady, D Molloy (0-3); D Currams (1-1), S Dooley (0-5f), J Bergin.
Subs: C Parlon for Currams (60), C Mahon for Murphy (70+2).
Referee: G Hoey (Clare)
Posted: May 3rd, 2009 under Hurling.