Offaly, who were themselves already bound for the relegation play-off next Sunday, did their neighbours Laois a massive favour when they ended Carlow’s hopes of making the quarter-finals in this National Hurling League 1B final group game at Netwatch Cullen Park.
Carlow needed to win and hope Dublin did the same in Parnell Park and while that result ended up as anticipated with the Metropolitans prevailing, the Barrowsiders were sucker-punched in a game which ended up in driving wind and snow.
Joe Bergin’s fourth minute goal gave Carlow an uphill battle in the conditions. On better ground, three points is nothing and while Marty Kavanagh landed five frees in the first half Offaly led 1-05 to 0-06 at the interval.
On 47 minutes, Shane Dooley flicked a dropping 65 to the Carlow net and that effectively proved to be a match-winner. Marty Kavanagh did have a penalty opportunity to get his side back in the game but his effort flew just over the crossbar on 51 minutes.
To rub injury into Carlow wounds, which were gradually opening even further, Dooley put in Bergin who rattled the Carlow net.
The provider then scored his second goal and Offaly's fourth as time began to run out for Colm Bonnar's side.
It is rare to see outfield players flapping their arms while trying to keep themselves warm but this was the case in the conditions. It was all about survival and getting to the full-time whistle in one piece by that stage.
Carlow, to their credit, continued to go forward and were rewarded with a goal from Seamus Murphy who found the net from close range.
David English then landed a long range free for Carlow but Offaly had the last word with a James Gorman point.
It is back to Tullamore for the two sides now.
Based off this performance, Offaly would have to be installed as favourites to retain their Division 1B league status against the 2018 Joe McDonagh Cup champions.
Carlow: Brian Tracey; Alan Corcoran, Paul Doyle, Michael Doyle; Eoin Nolan, David English (0-1f), Kevin McDonald; Jack Kavanagh (0-1), Sean Whelan; Seamus Murphy (1-0), Marty Kavanagh (0-6, 5fs pen), Eddie Byrne; James Doyle, Denis Murphy (0-1), Chris Nolan (0-1f).
Subs: Richard Coady for Nolan (10 mins), Ted Joyce for D. Murphy (48 mins), Ross Smithers for M. Kavanagh (55 mins), John Michael Nolan for J. Doyle (56 mins), Jon Nolan for C. Nolan (62 mins).
Offaly: Eoghan Cahill; Paddy Rigney, Niall Houlihane, Ben Conneely; Damien Egan, Pat Camon, Aidan Treacy; Colm Gath (0-1), Shane Kinsella; Joe Bergin (2-3, 0-3fs) Sean Dolan, Kevin Dunne; Kevin Connolly, Colin Egan, Conor Langton (0-2).
Subs: Shane Dooley (2-1) for Connolly (13 mins), Craig Taylor for Egan (56 mins), James Gorman (0-1) for Gath (65 mins), Der
Referee: John Ryan (Tipperary)