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Brave Kerry stun Offaly but miss out on quarter-final place 2016-03-23 17:10:00

John Egan has struck a blow for Kerry hurling by coming out on top with a dominant victory in this week's GAA.ie Hurling Player of the Week vote.  Click here for full details.

D1B: Brave Kerry stun Offaly but miss out on quarter-final place (from GAA.IE)


By Kevin Egan at Birr for GAA.ie

Kerry secured one of the most famous wins in their hurling history on Sunday afternoon when they travelled to St Brendan’s Park and recorded a sensational 2-18 to 2-17 win over Offaly at the Birr venue, a victory that was fully merited after the Kingdom came back from six points down early in the second half.

Afterwards manager Ciarán Carey hailed the collective team effort that his side produced, declaring that he was really proud of his team’s performance against Clare a week ago and that he knew this was likely to be a far more winnable fixture for his players.

His attempts to communicate that sense of self-belief to the group clearly paid off as his charges never stopped competing ferociously in this tie, even after twice falling into a six point deficit to the overwhelming pre-match favourites.

Once Colm Harty hit the net midway through the second half with an excellent run and low shot Kerry were back on terms and while neither side was able to pull decisively clear late on, scores from Egan and Shane Nolan were crucial to Kerry taking both points – even if their win was ultimately in vein, thanks to Wexford’s late winner at O’Moore Park.

Bright and warm conditions prevailed for the first Allianz Hurling League game in nine years to be played at St Brendan’s Park and it was the home side who hit the ground running in the early stages, striking the game’s first score through a Shane Dooley free before the game’s opening goal put real daylight between the sides.

Joe Bergin was the only player on the field who had previously started a National Hurling league game at the Birr venue and it was he who gave his side a four point advantage when he collected a diagonal pass from club colleague James Mulrooney and sprinted clear of the Kerry full back line before picking out the top corner of the Kerry net.

Offaly continued to look slightly sharper in front of goal while Kerry struggled to hit the target, perhaps in part due to shooting into the low sun at the southern end of the ground, but strong defensive showings from the Kerry half back line kept them in contention.

Only Shane Dooley made any impact on the scoreboard, though Joe Bergin also looked capable of opening holes in the defence when he contested high deliveries against Patrick Kelly. Indiscipline continued to haunt the Offaly half back line however and a series of fouls and subsequent John Egan frees meant that Kerry trailed by just four points, 1-11 to 0-10, at the break.

Dooley and Bergin pointed immediately after the game’s resumption to stretch the lead but the result was again thrown right back into the melting pot when John Egan turned Niall Wynne and blasted the sliothar into the roof of the net after two minutes.

The gap was cut to one when Offaly struck their second goal through James Mulrooney with 25 still to play but that turned out to be little more than a brief ripple in the graph that was trending entirely towards the Munster county.

Colum Harty levelled the game once again as he darted through open country and precisely picked out the bottom corner of the net with all the flair and exuberance of a player that was beginning to sense an historic result, and by now the vast bulk of the attacking play was taking place at the Offaly end of the field.

Jordan Conway gave Kerry their first lead of the game and while Offaly responded immediately, Eamon Kelly simply couldn’t find a mix up front that could address his side’s scoring problems. For the fourth time in five starts this year no Offaly substitute was able to raise a flag while a final tally of 2-4 from all players other than Shane Dooley told its own story.

With confidence surging through their veins, Kerry struck twice to build up a two point lead with just four minutes of added time remaining and while Shane Dooley cut the gap again with a ’65, that was to prove insufficient in the bid to deny the most remarkable result of this Allianz League campaign so far.


Scorers for Offaly:
S Dooley 0-13 (8f, 1 sl, 1 ’65), J Bergin 1-1, J Mulrooney 1-1, C Egan 0-1, S Ryan 0-1

Scorers for Kerry:
J Egan 1-10 (9f), C Harty 1-0, J Conway 0-3, M Boyle 0-2, J Griffin 0-2, S Nolan 0-1

J Dempsey; N Wynne, C McDonald, P Rigney; P Camon, C Doughan D Shortt; S Ryan, S Kinsella; P Murphy, C Egan, S Dooley; S Cleary, J Bergin, J Mulrooney. Subs: J Sampson for Murphy (33), C Kiely for Cleary (42), K Connolly for Kinsella (52), S Connolly for Wynne (55), P Guinan for Ryan (64).

A McCabe; B Murphy, P Kelly, K Carmody; J Diggins, D Dineen, T Murnane; D Collins, J Griffin; J Buckley, M O’Leary, B O’Leary; J Conway, M Boyle, J Egan. Subs: C Harty for Buckley (ht), S Nolan for B O’Leary (53), T Casey for Diggins (58), S Weir for Kelly (62), P Lucid for Griffin (70+1).
John Keane (Galway).

Kerry Senior Hurling Team V Offaly

The Kerry Senior Hurling Team to play Offaly in the Allianz Hurling League Round 5 at Birr on Sunday next shows three changes in personnel and a number of positional changes from the side went down to Clare in Round 4.
Bryan Murphy returns after suspension to the full back line, James O’Connor starts in the half forward line and Jordan Conway comes into the full forward line with Dougie Fitzelle, Thomas Casey and John Buckley the players to lose out.
The team captained by Daniel Collins of Kilmoyley lines out as follows:
1 Aidan McCabe Kilmoyley
2 Bryan Murphy Causeway
3 Patrick Kelly Clarecastle
4 Keith Carmody Causeway
5 Jason Diggins Causeway
6 Darren Dineen St Brendans
7 Tom Murnane Kilmoyley
8 Daniel Collins (C) Kilmoyley
9 John Griffin Lixnaw
10 James O’Connor Abbeydorney
11 Michael O’Leary Abbeydorney
12 Colum Harty Causeway
13 Jordan Conway Crotta O’Neills
14 Mikey Boyle Ballyduff
15 John Egan St Brendans
Fir Ionaid:
16 Stephen Murphy Causeway
17 Brendan Brosnan Lixnaw
18 John Buckley Lixnaw
19 Tommy Casey Causeway
20 Paudie O’Connor Kilmoyley
21 Dougie Fitzelle Kilmoyley
22 Jack Goulding Ballyduff
23 Philip Lucid Ballyheigue
24 Shane Nolan Crotta O’Neills
25 Brendan O’Leary Abbeydorney
26 Sean Weir Crotta O’Neills

Bainisteoir: Ciaran Carey (Patrickswell)
Coach/Selector: Mark Foley (Adare)
Treanálaí: Damien Ryall (Abbeydorney)
Róghnoirí: James McCarthy (Kilmoyley), Michael Conway (Lixnaw)

Additional Players on Panel
Darragh Shanahan Kilmoyley
Jordon Brick Kilmoyley
P J Keane Abbeydorney
Gerard Stackpoole Lixnaw
Mike Milner Dr Crokes
Martin Stackpoole Lixnaw

The Ballyduff pair, Paud Costelloe and Padraig Boyle, are rehabbing from injury.