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Brian Whelehan happy with Offaly comeback

Updated: Wednesday, 15 Jan 2014 17:53 | Comments

Brian Whelehan: 'We finished the game really well, which I'm just delighted with' Joe Bergin hit nine points for Offaly
Brian Whelehan: 'We finished the game really well, which I'm just delighted with' Joe Bergin hit nine points for Offaly

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New Offaly hurling boss Brian Whelehan declared himself satisfied with their Walsh Cup win over Antrim  after rallying back from a six-point deficit.

The double All-Ireland winner saw his young charges trail until midway through the second half.

They took a one-point lead before a Conor McKinley own goal turned the tide fully in favour of the home side at O’Connor Park.

Whelehan, who took over from Ollie Baker in October, was especially pleased with the showings of some of the younger members of the squad, namely twins Thomas and Peter Geraghty.

“It’s only our third game as a squad,” he told Midlands Radio 103.

“We’re not probably where we’d like to be ourselves but the way we finished out the game was very encouraging.

"Especially from the point of view [of] having so many young lads out there today and getting their chance and taking their chance.

“A lot of people were talking about Antrim coming down on the back of a win against Dublin in a challenge game last week and us getting a little bit of a going over against Tipperary last Sunday.

“It took us 20-25 minutes to get to grips with Antrim’s tactics of a third-man midfielder and even dragging more guys out the field but in the second half we came to grips with that an awful lot better.

“Between the two Geraghtys, they really worked very hard and created a lot of opportunities for players. We finished the game really well, which I’m just delighted with.

“That’s what the Walsh Cup is about. At the same time it’s good for our young lads to have got a win today. We are home in our own back yard and it’s always nice to come away with a win.

“A lot of players are getting their opportunity and they’re relishing the chance to stake a [claim] for a place in our squad.”

"A lot of players are getting their opportunity and they’re relishing the chance"

The win sets up a quarter-final tie with Galway in Tullamore next Sunday, a task which Whelehan acknowledged will be a step up in class, and one he must face without star players Shane Dooley and David Kenny, who are continuing to recover from injury.

Whelehan said: “Galway next week is going to be a big step up from today. At the same time, it’s a great game for us to get at this stage of the year.

“We are looking at lads and seeing how they are going to perform under pressure and at times today we got a great response from our players. The sharpness probably wasn’t there where we’d like it to be but that will come.

“We are [carrying a lot of injuries]. It’s really unfortunate how things have worked out.

"A number of our main players played all last season with injury and done quite a lot of damage so we’ll be looking at them taking a serious part of our squad when we’re well into the league and we look forward to that."

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