Leinster Minor Hurling Championship: Offaly 2-18, Laois 0-12
Offaly minor hurlers waited a long time to get their championship campaign underway, but hit the ground running with an emphatic victory over Laois in St Brendan’s Park, Birr, on Saturday, 17th October.
Leo O’Connor’s side pulled clear in the second half to win by 11 points and set up a quarter-final against Kildare next weekend.
Highlights from the game included 14 points by Lochlann Quinn, two goals by Charlie Mitchell, and a top-class penalty save by Mark Troy – a son of former Offaly net-minder Jim Troy.
Offaly defended with great heart and determination throughout. Whenever Laois got possession they tried to drive past their opponents but, time and time again, the Faithful County lads adverted the danger with committed tackling and skilful hooking.
There was nothing between the teams in the opening quarter, but Offaly held a slender 0-5 to 0-3 advantage at the first water break. When play resumed, a flowing move which started in the back line resulted in a well-finished goal by Charlie Mitchell.
With Lochlann Quinn faultless from frees, Offaly built up a 1-9 to 0-5 lead, but the visitors reduced the gap to 1-9 to 0-8 at the interval.
Laois also converted the first two points of the second half. But Offaly didn’t panic. Lochlann Quinn fired over another couple of points and then Mark Troy came to the rescue with a fantastic penalty stop.
By the time the second water break came around, Offaly were ahead by 1-13 to 0-11 and they drove on in the final quarter. A dominant last 15 minutes featured a second goal by Charlie Mitchell and some more quality points as Offaly advanced with plenty to spare.
Offaly Scorers: Lochlann Quinn (10 frees, 2 ‘65’s) 0-14; Charlie Mitchell 2-0; Luke Carey 0-2; Cormac Egan and Lee Hogan 0-1 each.
OFFALY: Mark Troy; Patrick Taaffe, Charlie Bracken, Oisin Kilmartin; Luke Watkins, Sam Bourke, Ruairi Dunne; Eoin Murphy, Cathal King; Colin Spain, Cormac Egan, Lochlann Quinn; Luke Carey, Charlie Mitchell, Lee Hogan.
Subs used: Daniel Bourke, Barry Egan, Andrew Coakley, Daire Temple, Adam Landy.