Kilkenny breeze past Offaly

John Donnelly desperately tries to hook Charlie Mitchell


Allianz National Hurling League

UPMC Nowlan Park

Kilkenny 1-26

Offaly 1-19

Referee: Michael Kennedy (Tipperary)

Kilkenny had to wait for a wind assisted second half to pull away from a determined Offaly team who owned the first half as Kilkenny looked out of sorts. Offaly took full advantage of the wind and did not look out of place against a Kilkenny team who seemed to struggle with the elements as much as against a spirited Offaly.

Offaly’s commitment was evident and they played the better hurling of the first half, and they were full value for their interval lead of 0-14 to 0-8. Kilkenny made hard work of their task and did not help themselves with the tactic of playing the long ball which seemed to suit Offaly. Kilkenny went some 28 minutes between scores and the half time score of 0-14 to 0-8 flattered them somewhat.

Offaly had an excellent first half and took full advantage of the elements with a strong wind on their backs. They out played Kilkenny in all parts of the field and had they been a little more confident when on the ball may well have extended their well deserved lead.

Despite Offaly’s huge efforts which included eight points from free taker Eoghan Cahill, it was felt that their lead would not be enough to hold off an inevitable Kilkenny come back.

Supporting Cahill, Charlie Mitchell and Jack Clancy were a constant threat, and Cillian Kiely and Ben Conneely were solid in their efforts to curb any possible Kilkenny intensions up front, and the continuous pressure inflicted by these players played a part in Kilkenny shooting eight wides and enduring a spell of twenty eight minutes without scoring.

It was hard to pick a Kilkenny player, who impressed in the first half, but a revival from Kilkenny in the second half was expected and we were not disappointed. The second half saw a different Kilkenny effort. Within two minutes Kilkenny posted points by John Donnelly, Shane Murphy and Billy Drennan which seemed to set Offaly back and any confidence earned in the first half seemed to wane.

A point by goalkeeper Darren Brennan from some one hundred meters added to Kilkenny’s intent and when Eoin Cody’s solo effort rattled the net it looked too much for Offaly. Kilkenny were now on a roll and had it not been for two excellent saves by Offaly goalkeeper Mark Troy they would have ended this contest early.

Offaly can take heart that throughout the match the made Kilkenny work hard and were unlucky not to score a goal in the forty seventh minute which might have made an interesting fourth quarter.

Meanwhile Kilkenny have sterner tests on the horizon with Clare presenting as their next opposition in Ennis in two weeks’ time. A strong, determined, flawless display will be needed if the spoils are to be taken back to Kilkenny and top of the league table achieved.


KILKENNY: D Brennan (0-01, free), M Butler, C Delaney, T Walsh; D Blanchfield (0-01), D Corcoran, S Murphy (0-01), P McDonald, M Carey; A Mullen (0-06) C Kenny, J Donnelly (0-02), B Drennan (0-11, 7 frees, 2 65s), L Blanchfield, E Cody (1-01).

Subs for Kilkenny: W Walsh (0-01) for McDonald 26th min; M Keoghan for W Walsh (inj) 57th min; T Clifford (0-01) for L Blanchfield 59th min; K Blanchfield (0-01) for C Kenny 62nd min; P Moylan for M Carey 66th min.

OFFALY: M Troy, D Ravenhill (0-02), B Conneely, S Bourke, J Sampson (0-01), C Kiely (0-01), K Sampson, C King, D Nally, A Screeney (0-01), E Kelly (0-01), J Clancy (0-01), E Cahill (0-10, nine frees), B Duignan, C Mitchell (1-2).

Subs for Offaly: D Bourke for C Kiely (inj) 27th min, P Delaney for J Clancy 43rd min, O Kelly for D Nally 54th min, D Maher for D Ravenhill 65th min.

Referee: Michael Kennedy ((Tipperary).

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