Offaly strike late to beat Kilkenny and reach Walsh Cup sem-final

Dublin do a number on Laois once more to also secure place in last four against Galway

Offaly 3-9 Kilkenny 1-9

Two goals in the closing five minutes from substitute James Gorman gave Offaly a deserved win over Kilkenny as they set up a Walsh Cup semi final with Wexford next Sunday.

The sides were level at 1-9 each with five minutes to go before Gorman struck with two well taken goals to close out a low scoring and dogged affair played out in front of an attendance of 2000 spectators.

Conditions were tough and it was the home side who led 1-5 to 1-2 at half time thanks in no small part to James Mulrooney who fired to the net for the opening score of the game on six minutes. Billy Ryan found the net for the Kilkenny men in the 12th minute but the free taking of Shane Dooley kept daylight between the sides.


Kilkenny bucked up in the second half and a Michael Malone point on 62 minutes finished off a spell of three in a row for Kilkenny as they brought the game level before Gorman struck with those two late goals to win it for the Faithful County who made a triumphant return to St Brendan’s Park in Birr in their first competitive game there since 2007.

Offaly: J Dempsey; N Wynne, B Leonard, P Rigney; D Mooney, C Doughan 0-1 (free), P Camon; S Kinsella, J O'Connor 0-1; P Murphy, C Egan, J Sampson; S Dooley 0-7 (0-6 frees and 0-1 '65), J Mulrooney 1-0, S Cleary. Subs: J Gorman 2-0 (for S Cleary 34m), B Murphy (for J Sampson 34m), S Quirke (for P Murphy 57m), G Conneely (for J O'Connor 66m), J Bergin (for J Mulrooney 69m).

Kilkenny: A Duggan; C Delaney, S Prendergast, C Wallace; B Kennedy 0-2 (frees), L Ryan, P Lyng; O Walsh, J Hayes; L Scanlon, M Malone 0-1, M Kelly 0-1; B Ryan 1-0, JJ Farrell 0-1 (free), M Kenny 0-2 (frees). Subs: C Ryan 0-1 (for M Kenny H/T), C Browne (for L Scanlon 49m), N Mullins 0-1 (for J Hayes 58m).

Referee: A Devine (Westmeath)

Dublin 2-20 Laois 1-9

For the second year in a row Dublin ended Laois’ interest in the Walsh Cup in a damp and soggy O’Moore Park on Sunday.

These sides met here in the All-Ireland qualifiers last year when Dublin were comfortable winners, yet the two managers had made many changes in the meantime, some enforced, others by choice.

Either way it was the visiting manager Ger Cunningham who will have gone away the happier of the two again this time and he now has the added bonus of a semi-final game against Galway next weekend to prepare for.

Laois had two wins under their belt prior to this but Dublin were their first serious test and their manager Seamus Plunkett will be disappointed with a return of just two points in the closing thirty seven minutes.

Laois started well and a point by Ben Reddin had them 0-3 to 0-2 up after six minutes. Dublin then enjoyed a good spell with points by Eamon Dillon, Paul Ryan and Darragh O'Connell, before a sweeping movement saw Chris Bennett in space, he found full forward Fintan McGibb who hammered his effort past the Laois goalkeeper.

A Dublin penalty awarded in the 25th minute saw Ryan put Dublin into a 2-12 to 1-7 lead - and they never looked back as Laois were guilty of some quite awful shooting in front of goal.

Dublin: G Maguire; J Boland, C Crummy (0-2), O Gough; R Hardy, L Rushe (0-1), J McCaffrey; C McBride (0-1), D O'Connell (0-1); D Tracey (0-1), S Treacy (0-1), E Dillon (0-3); P Ryan (1-2), N F McGibb (1-1), C Bennett (0-2); Subs N McMorrow (0-4 for P Ryan inj 28m, M Schutte (0-1) for C Bennett 53m, D O'Callaghan for E Dillon 49m, F Ryan for R Hardy 58m, D Plunkett for C McBride 62m, C McBride for D Plunkett inj 68m

Laois: E Reilly; C Healy, J Walsh, D Maher; L Bergin, N Foyle (0-1), R Mullaney; C Stapleton (0-1), M Whelan; C Collier, B Reddin (0-2), P Purcell; E Fennelly, PJ Scully (0-5), T Dowling (1-0); Subs J Phelan for D Maher 55m, P Lalor for R Mullaney 55m, O Carroll for L Bergin 58m, M Kavanagh for T Dowling 58m

Referee: M O’Sullivan Kilkenny.

Meanwhile Wexford cruised to a 17 point win over Carlow at Netwatch Cullen Park, with an impressive 11 Model County players sharing in their big total.

After 20 minutes Wexford led 0-6 to 0-0, with white flags from Aidan Nolan, Cathal Dunbar, Shane Tomkins, Paul Morris (free), Harry Kehoe and another Morris free.

Kevin McDonald opened the Carlow account with a 27th minute pointed free before they lost defender Richard Coady to a second yellow card, on the half hour.

A splendid point from a line cut on 33 minutes from Carlow’s James O’Hara was almost directly followed by their only point from play in the half from left corner forward Seán Whelan, as they trailed 0-10 to 0-4 at the break.

Wexford upped their game in the second half, their superior hurling manifesting itself as the Carlow challenge visibly faltered. Substitute David Dunne would score the game’s only goal on 62 minutes (Wexford 1-21 Carlow 0-7).

Three goals in the first quarter gave Galway the cushion they needed to withstand a solid challenge from their hosts Westmeath in an entertaining clash played in St Loman's, Mullingar yesterday afternoon.

Westmeath started brightly with two points from Brendan Murtagh. However, a goal from Jason Flynn in the third minute nudged the Tribesmen in front. Flynn gave Paddy Maloney no chance from the penalty spot in the 13th minute. Three minutes later, Niall Burke’s scored a soft goal. Galway led by 3-9 to 0-8 at the break.

Westmeath plugged away gallantly in the second half but they never looked like getting through for a goal of their own to make a real contest of it (Galway 3-18 Westmeath 0-17).

A two goal salvo at the start of the second half ended IT Carlow’s hopes of back to back victories in the Walsh Cup at Dunganny.

Hosts Meath led 0-9 to 0-6 at the break and within 45 seconds of the restart Stephen Clynch struck for the games' opening goal. Almost immediately the home side went on the attack again and this time Keith Keoghan finished to the net. Meath had Sean Heavey red carded on 43 minutes but despite their numerical advantage the students never threatened to make up the deficit and the Royals stretched their lead further to record their opening victory of the campaign (Meath 2-16 IT Carlow 1-12).

An injury time point from the impressive Conor Whelan earned NUIG a 1-20 apiece draw with DCU - the visitors enjoyed a deserved 1-11 to 0-9 interval advantage with Stephen Ward netting in the 10th minute and three points from impressive wing-back Padraig Mannion proved the highlight of an enterprising half by NUIG.

Aidan Helebert kept their noses in front upon the restart but an Eoghan McHugh goal in the 55th minute helped launch a spirited reply by the hosts for whom Sean Gray accrued eleven points.

A 69th minute point by Killian Fitzgerald looked to have proved pivotal for DCU before Whelan fired over a minute later to leave the teams deadlocked (DCU 1-20 NUIG 1-20).