Humiliating day for Offaly as Galway win by 27 points


OFFALY, the 1994 All-Ireland champions and last year's finalists, had an ignominious day yesterday when they were hammered by 27 points by Galway in Ballinasloe. Indeed, Offaly failed to score in the first half and both their scores came from placed balls.

The most loyal Galway supporters couldn't believe yesterday's performance by the men in maroon and white. They dominated all through and eight of their side figured on the scoresheet.

Despite the driving rain and gale-force wind, Galway had only 11 wides over the hour compared to Offaly's two, and generally took their points from awkward angles.

It seemed all through that the Galway players were fighting for places in every department and every one of them seemed to give 100 per cent commitment over the hour. Judging by their display, it will be hard to displace any of yesterday's team and it was ironic that Ollie Fahy, who was drafted in at the last moment for A N Other, was the only forward not to figure on the scoresheet.

The winners' first point came in the second minute when Brendan Keogh pointed a 65 after full forward Joe Rabbitte failed to send the ball to the net when he had a goal for the taking.

After 10 minutes Galway were eight points up and at the end of the first half had doubted that to 20 without any reply from the opposition. The only sign of a score by Offaly came five minutes before the interval when a 45 yards free by John Troy, a late call-up for Joe Dooley, fell far short of the target.

Inside 15 seconds of the resumption, Francis Forde had stretched Galway's lead and Michael Coleman and Forde again from a free put Galway in front by 0-23 to 0-0 after only four minutes.

Offaly's lone point came from a John Troy free in the fifth minute and three minutes later the losers were awarded a penalty after full forward Joe Errity was fouled on his way goalwards. Errity himself scored from the penalty, their last score of the hour.

Galway hit back with points by Cathal Moran, Francis Forde, Liam Burke (two) and Joe Rabbitte before the full forward had the winners' only goal of the match a minute from time when Ollie Fahy did most of the heavy work, leaving Rabbitte to send the ball home.

This performance shows that Galway have overcome their management problems of the past few weeks and it's back to business as usual. Just how good they are is hard to know.

The hunger and commitment shown by Galway has not been seen for a long time and this augurs well for their coming outings in both the league and Railway Cup. The winners can be especially proud of the great work done by Coleman, Kevin Broderick, Moran, and Forde in the attack, with Nigel Shaughnessy and Michael Donoghue conspicuous in a defence that was very seldom troubled.

Offaly can thank Kevin Kinahan, Brian Whelehan, Johnny Pilkington and Errity for trying hardest, but corner forward Aidan Mannion must wonder why he was substituted in the first half even though the ball never reached his sector in the opening 25 minutes.