Lots of new Dublin faces in five point win over Offaly

Ciaran Kilkenny, Eoin Murchan and Niall Scully the only regulars involved

Offaly 0-13 Dublin 2-12

Dublin will be quietly content with the way they performed in a hard earned O’Byrne Cup win over Offaly in Tullamore on Saturday afternoon.

With an experimental team on show, they were pushed hard by Offaly but finished powerfully for a deserved 2-12 to 0-13 win.

It was a brave and battling display by Offaly but overall Dublin were the better team, with Ciarán Kilkenny pulling the strings as they took control inside the last few minutes to win.

The All Star Dublin attacker got their final two points to go with an excellent 69th minute goal from substitute Warren Egan which put the visitors beyond Offaly’s reach. Before that, the game had been very much in the balance. Dublin were hanging onto a one point lead well into the closing 10 minutes but Offaly couldn’t live with them in the closing exchanges.

The first half was a very evenly matched affair. Dublin led by 0-9 to 0-7 at half time and crucially they moved the ball that bit faster through the lines.

The visitors had the first use of a stiff wind and hit the ground running with the opening three points - wing back Sean Bugler got them off the mark and he had an outstanding first half registering three points in total. He ended up with four in all.

Ruairí McNamee scored a 10th minute free and after Dublin had wrestled back control he reduced the arrears to a point with a 13th minute point from play. Offaly were hard working and honest while Dublin were lethal on the break. Kilkenny got two of their first half points and Dublin looked like scoring every time they got forward.

Offaly will regret two missed first half goal chances. Jordan Hayes rattled the crossbar with a powerful drive in the 21st minute. While late on in the half Jack Bryant was caught off balance when a mishit Morgan Tynan free fell to him infront of goal - the ball was eventually gathered by Anton Sullivan who scored the final point before the interval.

A goal from Tom Lahiff at the start of the second half pushed Dublin into a 1-9 to 0-7 lead but Offaly responded strongly. They scored four points on the trot although Colm Basquel had hit the crossbar from a free during this spell of Offaly pressure. A super Bill Carroll point reduced the deficit to a point, 1-9 to 0-11 with 23 minutes left and Johnny Moloney’s excellent score made it 1-10 to 0-12 with 13 minutes remaining.

But as both sides introduced a spate of second half subs, Dublin proved stronger and 1-2 out of the closing 1-3 got them across the line with some breathing room in the end.

DUBLIN: D O'Hanlon; L Gannon (0-1), S Clayton, D Conlon; T Lahiff (1-0), E Murchan, S Bugler (0-4); P O'Cofaigh Byrne, S Carthy (0-1); K McGinnis, C Kilkenny (0-4), A Wright (0-1); L O'Dell, C Basquel, A Byrne (0-1, one free).

Subs: N Scully for McGinnis (45 mins), R McGarry for O’Dell (45 mins), C McCormack for Carthy (48 mins), W Egan (1-0) for Basquel (55 mins), J Doran for Wright (58 mins), D Lacey for Byrne (61 mins), J Holland for Lahiff (64 mins), A Rafter for Bugler (72 mins).

OFFALY: P Dunican; L Pearson, J Lalor, C Donnelly (0-1); R Egan, J Moloney (0-1), C Donoghue; C Mangan, J Hayes; B Carroll (0-1), D Egan, M Tynan (0-1); J Bryant, A Sullivan (0-3), R McNamee (0-5, three frees).

Subs: I Duffy for Dunican and A Leavy for Tynan (both half-time), N Darby for Diarmuid Egan (46 mins), C Egan for Bryant (54 mins), J O’Connor (St Rynagh’s) for Carroll (54 mins), K Dolan for Donoghue (55 mins), D Molloy for Moloney (60 mins), J Darcy (0-1 free) for Pearson (60 mins).

Referee: P Coyle (Meath).

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