Leinster Minor Football Championship Semi-Final: Offaly 2-10, Kildare 2-07.
A fantastic Christmas present for the Offaly Minor Footballers!
Drawn away to Kildare in the Leinster Minor Football Championship semi-final, the Faithful County lads rose to the challenge and achieved a fantastic result on Saturday, 19th December.
Ken Furlong’s charges were the better team for most of the match and really stepped up to the mark when Kildare tried their best to salvage a result late on.
Offaly were boosted by a fast start and close to half time had built up a 2-6 to 0-2 lead. Frees by Jamie Guing and Keith O’Neill (2) gave the visitors a 0-3 to 0-1 cushion at the first half water break.
O’Neill and midfielder John Furlong added more points and then, in the 23rd minute, a blistering run by Cormac Egan contributed to a fisted goal by Cathal Ryan. Soon after, the aforementioned O’Neill crashed home a spectacular goal and it was all going to plan for Offaly.
However, Kildare hit back with a goal and a point just before the interval, which cut their deficit to 2-6 to 1-3.
Early in the second half, with the breeze at their backs, Kildare added another point. But Offaly held firm with the backs including Tom Hyland, Cathal Ryan and Diarmuid Finneran tackling brilliantly.
Cormac Egan and Cathal Ryan kept the scoreboard ticking over and Jamie Guing and Pauric Robbins also contributed to the scoring. Kildare narrowed the gap with a late goal but despite five minutes of injury time, Offaly held out for a fully-deserved win and they will now face Meath in the final in early January.
Offaly: Keith O’Neill 1-4 (2f and 1 mark), Cathal Ryan 1-1, Jamie Guing 0-2, John Furlong, Pauric Robbins and Cormac Egan 0-1 each.
Kildare: Oisin O’Sullivan 2-2, Adam Fanning 0-4 (3f), Ben Fitzsimons 0-1.
OFFALY: David Dunican (Ferbane); Diarmuid Finneran (Ballinagar), Tom Hyland (Bracknagh), Ciaran Conroy (Gracefield); David Dempsey (Clonbullogue), Cathal Ryan (Daingean), Geordi O’Meara (Ballinagar); John Furlong (Tullamore), Harry Plunkett (Tullamore); Marcus Dalton (Clara), Alex Egan (Clara), Padraig Robbins (Tubber); Jamie Guing (Clonbullogue), Keith O’Neill (Clonbullogue), Cormac Egan (Tullamore). Subs – Joe Bergin (Edenderry) for Plunkett (56m), Daire McDaid (Tullamore) for Hyland (61m), Sean Finneran (St Rynagh’s) for Dalton (63m),Sean Afolabi-Joseph for O’Neill (65m).
KILDARE|: Cormac Barker; Ryan Burke, Elliott Byrne, Fionn Tully; Harry O’Neill, Jack McKevitt, Fionn McGiollain; Shane Farrell, Conor Lonergan; Charlie Litton, Darragh Swords, Joe Ledwidge; Adam Fanning, Cian Grimes, Oisin O’Sullivan. Subs – Luke Killian for Farrell (Half time), Darragh Sloane for O’Neill (Half time), Con Kehoe for Grimes (39m), Ben Fitzsimons for Ledwidge (46m), James McGrath for Swords (56m).
Referee – David O’Connor (Dublin).