Kildare 0-11 Offaly 1-8
The Faithful county again refused to give up hope when coming back in the final minutes of today’s Leinster Senior Football semi-final to snatch victory from the grasp of Mick O’Dwyer’s Kildare. The Lilywhites to be fair dominated large portions of the game but only managed a two point, 0-7 to 0-5, lead at half-time, only widening the gap by a further score with five minutes remaining. By that stage Offaly were pushing hard for parity and Donnie Ryan came up trumps to snatch a late goal and send the tie to a July 16th replay. That was not before Offaly ‘keeper Kelly came all the way out to take a long range free that may have seen Kildare out. The distance was good but the shot was just left and both sides are left to fight another day.
The first half began with both sides looking quite unsettled but with Kildare having the edge at midfield. Martin Lynch had been joined there by Dermot Earley from the outset and the pairing had the upper hand. However as with many times in the past this dominance didn’t lead to any great scoring exploits for the Leinster champions of ’98 and after 20 minutes it was only two points a piece. The Lilywhites outscored their neighbours by five points to three for the remainder of the half to leave it 0-7 to 0-5 by half-time and the game wide open.
Neither sets of forwards were being given much leeway nor taking advantage when space and time were on their sides but possession being nine tenths of the law Kildare moved into a 10 points to 5 lead with 20 minutes remaining. Then Offaly made another of their renowned comebacks and with Vinny Claffey coming more and more into the play moved to within three as time ebbed away. Claffey being affected by hamstring problems however, was taken off along with Roy Malone, and it was Malone’s substitute Donnie Ryan that got the vital summer saving strike for the Faithful that sees the game go to a replay.