Carlow 1-17 Offaly 1-20

Offaly Under-20s gave their supporters something to cling to with a three-point win in the Leinster Hurling Championship against Carlow at Netwatch Cullen Park.

The visitors got off to the better start surging three points in front with Cathal Kiely converting a free and a 65 from David Nally.

When Cillian Sampson found the posts with a wonderful strike out on the left into the scoreboard end of the ground the home side needed to do something and do it fast.

A Ciaran Whelan free in the seventh minute settled them and with Dean Tobin picking off two points from play it was game on.

From there to the half-time score of 0-09 each it was tit for tat with the sides level on five occasions.

Offaly hit the ground running in the second half with John Murphy scoring a goal and Conor Langton adding a point.

The home side came back but the Faithful seemed to be able to keep their distance and with Cathal Kiely deadly accurate from placed balls they held a six point lead going into the final quarter.

Carlow dug in and Ciaran Whelan scored a goal to reduce the deficit with time running out.

Offaly hit back with a Cillian Sampson point and the backs stood up, made the high catches and the blocks as Carlow came in waves in an effort to rescue the game.

It wasn’t to be for the home side.

On the other hand it was their Under-20 side who restored a bit of pride in Offaly hurling for 2019 in a year which has brought nothing but disappointment.

Offaly: Eamonn Cleary; Ryan Hogan, Ross Ravenhill, Sean Beatty; Ciaran Burke, Conor Butler, Ciaran Doyle; DavidNally (0-2, 1-65), Cillian Sampson (0-2); Brian Duignan (0-3), Harry Kealey, John Murphy (1-1); Cathal Kiely (0-10fs), Conor Langton (0-2), Joey Keenaghan.

Subs: Conor Quinn for Keenaghan (38 mins), Cillian Ryan for Kealey (38 mins), Lochlann Kavanagh for Nally (47 mins), Dara Maher for Doyle (55 mins).

Carlow: James Kavanagh; Dylan Connors, Jack Ryan, Donal Jordan; Eoin Kavanagh, Tony Lawler, Eanna Holland; Ciaran Whelan (1-106fs 3-65s), Barry Hickey; Dan Sheehan (0-1), Jon Nolan (0-1), Dean Tobin (0-3); Richie Whelan, Ciaran Kavanagh (0-1), Jason O’Neill.

Subs: Rory Joyce for R. Whelan (38 mins), Keelan Guidera for E. Kavanagh (42 mins), Tadgh Daly for E. Kavanagh (46 mins), Conor Treacy (0-1) for O’Neill (52 mins), Oisin Ryan (0-1) for C. Kavanagh (59 mins).

Referee: Mick Murtagh (Westmeath).