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Carlow 1-10 Offaly 1-12

Updated: Monday, 18 Mar 2013 16:33 | Comments

Joe Bergin's goal proved to be the difference between Offaly and Carlow
Joe Bergin's goal proved to be the difference between Offaly and Carlow

Joe Bergin’s 68th-minute goal steered Offaly to a dramatic 1-12 to 1-10 win over 14-man Carlow at Dr. Cullen Park.

Carlow had Sean Murphy dismissed in the fourth minute, and they were 0-08 to 0-04 in arrears by the 45th minute.

However, the hosts rallied by shooting 1-04 without reply including a Craig Doyle goal to move 1-09 to 0-08 ahead.

But Bergin’s late goal and an insurance point from Brian Carroll saw the Faithfuls take a tight verdict.

Offaly began this Allianz Hurling League clash brightly with Shane Dooley scoring the first of his five points after just two minutes.

The visitors also created a goal chance in the early stages after James Mulrooney combined with Dooley, but the Tullamore clubman blazed his effort wide of the posts.

Carlow were dealt a major blow two minutes later when Murphy received a straight red card for a collision involving Cathal Parlon.

The Ballinkillen clubman, in his first season on the Carlow senior team, was sent to the line by referee Sean Cleere whose decision baffled the Carlow half-forward and left manager John Meyler incensed with the match official.

Offaly soon raced into a three-point lead following well-struck points from play by Parlon and Brian Carroll. Despite Carlow's numerical disadvantage, Meyler's charges worked hard and were reasonably effective in the midfield sector.

Team captain Edward Coady, in his 150th appearance for Carlow, impressed in centre-field alongside Mark Brennan. Former captain Shane Kavanagh opened Carlow's account with a pointed free in the 12th minute, after David King fouled the inrushing Jack Kavanagh.

Carlow were not without scoring opportunities, but they fired five wides by the 21st minute as Offaly continued to take their chances at the other end.

Joe Bergin slotted over two points from frees in the 16th and 19th minutes to move the Faithfuls 0-05 to 0-01 ahead, but Carlow responded before the break.

Scores from Shane Kavanagh and John Michael Nolan brought the Barrowsiders back into contention, but a Sean Ryan point gave Offaly a 0-06 to 0-04 half-time lead.

Ollie Baker's side could afford six first half wides, but came under huge pressure on the restart as Carlow made light of wing forward Murphy's absence.

Scores were at a premium in the opening stages of the second half, with a brace of Dooley points from frees helping Offaly to a 0-08 to 0-04 lead by the 45th minute.

Carlow kept up the pressure and were rewarded for their efforts, leaving Offaly defending for their lives for the bulk of the closing 35 minutes. Marty Kavanagh was in excellent form from frees, while Doyle's goal sprung the game into life.

Marty Kavanagh fired a high ball in on top of the Carlow full-forward line and Doyle smashed it past goalkeeper James Dempsey with a fine first-time strike. The goal pushed Carlow 1-06 to 0-08 ahead.

Offaly desperately required scores, but to no avail over the next four minutes as they fired three wides from their next three attacks, with Dooley and James Mulrooney both wasteful..

The 19-year-old Marty Kavanagh continued to impress from placed balls, bringing his tally to five points with scores in the 55th and 57th minutes as the Barrowsides moved 1-09 to 0-08 ahead..

Offaly then bagged their first score in 14 minutes through Dooley, with Baker's charges now showing more urgency.

Bergin was denied a goal by a superb save from Nicky Roberts, however subsequent points from Dooley and Colin Egan reduced the deficit to a point in the 66th minute.

Offaly kept pressing for scores and crucially, Seir Kieran clubman Bergin was eventually rewarded for his efforts as he snuck the ball past Roberts to give the visitors a sudden 1-11 to 1-09 buffer.

Brian Carroll pushed Offaly into a three-point lead late on and although Mark Brennan claimed a score in the dying minutes, Baker's men held on for a hard-fought win.

CARLOW: N Roberts; D English, E Nolan, D Shaw; A Corcoran, R Coady, J O'Hara; M Brennan (0-01), E Coady (0-01); S Murphy, S Kavanagh (0-03, 0-02f), M Kavanagh (0-04, 0-04f); C Doyle (1-00), JM Nolan (0-01), J Kavanagh.

Subs used: P Coady for J Kavanagh (46 mins), P Nolan for Doyle (66).

OFFALY: J Dempsey; C McDonald, D Kenny, D King; D Morkan, R Hanniffy, K Brady; J Bergin (1-02, 0-02f), B Carroll (0-02); C Egan (0-01), C Parlon (0-01), D Molloy; S Dooley (0-05, 0-03f, 0-01 '65), J Mulrooney, S Ryan (0-01).

Subs used: D Mooney for King, O Kealey for Molloy (both half-time), T Carroll for Ryan (51 mins), T Bolger for Parlon (64), S Cleary for Mulrooney (65).

Referee: Sean Cleere (Kilkenny)

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