Leinster U20 hurling final: Adam Screeney excels as Offaly claim back-to-back titles

Big crowd in Portlaoise sees Offaly set up All-Ireland final against either Cork or Tipperary

Leinster Under-20 HC final:

Offaly 1-18

Dublin 1-15

They’ve pretty much come to expect brilliance from Adam Screeney and Offaly’s boy wonder duly delivered again, propelling the Faithful to back-to-back Leinster U-20 hurling titles.

Nine points from the Kilcormac-Killoughey sensation helped his county to a seventh title at the grade while Shane Rigney, a week after hitting Kilkenny for 2-3, netted again too. There were heroics also from captain Dan Bourke, who struck 0-4.


Offaly fans, who made up the vast majority of the 15,215 crowd in Portlaoise, were so overjoyed they twice invaded the pitch late on.

That was before the game was even over, and Dublin subsequently gave them a stoppage-time scare with a goal from substitute Conn Rock.

That proved to be mere consolation. The three-point gap at the end flattered Dublin, who burned brightly early on before being snuffed out.

Aside from underlining their dominance of the Leinster championship, Offaly are also through to the All-Ireland final.

They were beaten by Cork in last year’s final and will play the Munster champions – either Cork or Tipperary – in this year’s decider on June 1st.

Dublin set up with a sweeper, Brendan Kenny, in a clear attempt to stifle Screeney’s influence and, initially at least, it worked pretty well.

Kenny boomed over two early long-range scores, as part of a total of 0-3, and Dublin generally began with the same sort of ferocity with which they’d opened against Galway in the semi-final. They wasted little time establishing a lead of 0-7 to 0-3.

Offaly didn’t strike their first point until the 11th minute, Bourke’s score sparking an eruption of joy around the ground.

Maybe all that expectation and the huge support unnerved the Offaly players, because they didn’t score from play again until the 21st minute.

But it was a score worth waiting for from their fans’ perspective, as Rigney blasted to the net to suddenly cut Offaly’s four-point deficit to the minimum, 1-3 to 0-7.

The entire Offaly support rose in unison and the roar could probably be heard back in Tullamore.

By the time they broke for the interval, Offaly had outscored Dublin by six points in an 11-minute spell and led 1-7 to 0-8.

Diarmaid O Dulaing added four second-half points for Dublin and had the chance to cut the gap to a point in the 40th minute.

But his penalty puck was saved and Offaly took full advantage with a series of terrific points from Screeney, Conor Doyle, Eoin Burke and defender Donal Shirley.

Offaly: L Hoare; R Kelly, B Miller, J Mahon; T Guinan, B Kavanagh, D Shirley (0-1); S Spain (0-1), C King; S Rigney (1-1), D Bourke (0-4, 0-1f), C Doyle (0-1); A Kavanagh, B Egan, A Screeney (0-9, 7f).

Subs: L Kavanagh for Egan 36, E Burke (0-1) for A Kavanagh 43.

Dublin: K Hogan; C Groarke, D Lucey, C Kennedy; B Kenny (0-3); E Keys, C Dolan, J Behan; C O Riain (0-1), F Murphy; J Conroy (0-1), D O Dulaing (0-6, 0-2 65, 0-1f), O Gaffney; N Hogan (0-3), D Purcell (0-1).

Subs: C Newton for Murphy 30+2, C Rock (1-0) for Hogan 47, D Bannan for Keys 50.

Referee: C Flynn (Westmeath).