Leinster Minor Hurling Championship Semi-Final: Offaly 2-18, Westmeath 1-8
Offaly are in the two Leinster Minor Championship finals in the same year for the first time since 1989.
On Sunday at TEG Cusack Park, the hurlers turned on the style in the second half to run out convincing winners over Westmeath. In doing so, they emulated the feat of the footballers 24 hours later, who beat Kildare in their semi-final.
Leo O’Connor’s side will now face Kilkenny in the decider in the new year which will, no doubt, be a stern test after victories over Laois, Kildare and now Westmeath.
Offaly got off to the perfect start with a Luke Carey goal but, before long, Westmeath hit back with a David Williams goal, despite a sensational save from Offaly net-minder Mark Troy.
The home side had the wind at their backs in the opening 30 minutes and led by 1-5 to 1-2 at the water break, with Loughlann Quinn adding to Offaly’s tally with two frees. Eoin Murphy then chipped in with Offaly’s first from play, and a couple more frees from Quinn ensured there was only two points between the sides at the break – 1-7 to 1-5.
Westmeath registered the opening point of the second half but then Offaly took complete control, so much so that the Lake County didn’t add to their tally from then on.
Offaly fired over score after score, with Luke Carey to the fore, along with Lochlann Quinn, Charlie Mitchell and dual star Cormac Egan. It wasn’t until injury-time that Daniel Burke wrapped it up with a second Offaly goal, but with the backs in control, their passage to the decider had been guaranteed before then.
Offaly: Lochlann Quinn 0-11 (5f and 1 ’65’), Luke Carey 1-3, Daniel Bourke 1-0, Charlie Mitchell 0-2, Eoin Murphy and Cormac Egan 0-1 each.
Westmeath: Eamon Cunneen 0-5 (3f), David Williams 1-0, Chullain Dowd 0-2, Darragh McCormack 0-1.
OFFALY: Mark Troy (Durrow); Ruari Dunne (Na Fianna), Charlie Bracken (Kilcormac/Killoughey), Oisin Kilmartin (Kilcormac/Killoughey); Luke Watkins (Ballyskenagh/Killavilla), Sam Bourke (Durrow), Joseph Hoctor (Carrig & Riverstown); Colin Spain (Kilcormac/Killoughey), Cathal King (Carrig and Riverstown); Lochlann Quinn (Birr), Cormac Egan (Tullamore), Eoin Murphy (Brosna Gaels); Luke Carey (Seir Kieran), Charlie Mitchell (Kilcormac/Killoughey), Lee Hogan (Carrig and Riverstown). Subs – Andrew Coakley (Carrig and Riverstown) for Hogan (50m), Cian Nolan (Birr) for Murphy (53m), Daniel Bourke (Durrow) for Egan (58m), Adam Landy (Shinrone) for Spain (58m), Barry Egan (Clara) for Carey (60m).
WESTMEATH: Jack Geoghegan; David Moloney, Jamie Mulkearns, David Weir; Danny McCartan, Sean Leech, Chullain Dowd; Peter Clarke, Mark Cunningham; Brian McGrath, Darragh McCormack, Brian Gaffney; Warric Kirby, David Williams, Eamonn Cunneen. Subs – Rian Holding for Gaffney (42m), David Augney for Dowd (46m).
Referee – Chris Mooney (Dublin).