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Offaly 4-09 Kilkenny 0-26

Updated: Sunday, 09 Jun 2013 20:11 | Comments

Offaly's Brian Carroll is tackled by Kilkenny's Aidan Fogarty
Offaly's Brian Carroll is tackled by Kilkenny's Aidan Fogarty

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Kilkenny blitzed Offaly with a ruthless second-half display to emerge 0-26 to 4-09 winners despite an enterprising first 35 minutes from the home side at O'Connor Park in Tullamore.

First-half goals from Colm Egan and Joe Bergin gave Offaly a one-point lead at half-time – at one stage they led by five – but after the restart Ollie Baker's men had no answer for Kilkenny's free scoring forwards.

Substitute Dan Currams goaled for the Faithful with seven minutes remaining and Bergin flicked in his second goal deep into added-time, but the Cats were never in trouble.

Baker couldn’t have hoped for a better start from his charges and before a minute had elapsed Colm Egan hit the net with an unstoppable close-range shot after he was first to react when Bergin's shot came back off the post.

In typical style, Kilkenny were unmoved by the early Offaly blitz and Eoin Larkin eased them level by the fifth minute with two frees and a 65.

A well rehearsed sideline cut freed corner-back Chris McDonald to hit a monster point for Offaly, and when Dooley hit his third pointed free their lead was pushed out to two points again.

Aidan Fogarty slotted a neat point in reply for Kilkenny, but in the 14th minute Bergin powered through the Kilkenny defence and hit a brilliant shot into the top corner of Eoin Murphy's net for a 2-02 to 0-04 advantage.

Offaly were lording the game at that stage and almost every long ball into their physically dominant full-forward line was producing chances.

But still at the other end Kilkenny were keeping in touch as Offaly continued to concede scoreable frees to Larkin, who hit six points in a row for the Cats from dead-balls.

Larkin's sharp-shooting closed Kilkenny into 2-06 to 0-11 at the break, and they continued to turn the screw after the restart and hit eight of the next nine points to open up a six-point lead.

In the scorching heat both sides began to struggle with the conditions late on and as a result the substitutes began to shine. Walter Walsh and Matthew Ruth both hit points for Brian Cody's side in the closing stages, before Currams hit the net for Offaly at the second attempt in the 63rd minute.

Kilkenny replied with four points in a row, but Offaly had the last say when Bergin’s presence led to a goal from the edge of the square, but it mattered little as Kilkenny reached the last four.

Kilkenny: E Murphy; P Murphy, JJ Delaney, J Tyrrell; T Walsh (0-01), B Hogan (0-01), K Joyce; L Ryan (0-01), M Rice; TJ Reid (0-01), R Power (0-04, 0-01f), E Larkin (0-11, 0-10f, 0-01'65); C Fennelly (0-01), R Hogan (0-03), A Fogarty (0-01).
Subs: C Fogarty for Tyrrell (6 mins), W Walsh (0-01) for A Fogarty (34 mins), C Buckley for Reid (57 mins), M Ruth (0-01) for Larkin (57 mins), P Hogan for Rice (59 mins).

Offaly: J Dempsey; C McDonald (0-01), D Kenny, K Brady; R Hanniffy, G Healion, C Parlon; C Mahon, D Mooney; S Cleary, B Carroll (0-01), C Slevin; S Dooley (0-05, 0-04f, 0-01'65), C Egan (1-02), J Bergin (2-00).
Subs: D Currams (1-00) for S Cleary (half-time), P Cleary for Kenny (42-47 mins & 54-64 blood), D Molloy for Mahon (45 mins), S Ryan for Brady (52 mins), T Carroll for Slevin (52 mins).

Referee: Alan Kelly (Galway).

Highlights and analysis of all the weekend’s action on The Sunday Game from 21:30 on Sunday 9 June on RTÉ Two and RTÉ.ie (Ireland only).

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