Mixed week for Offaly GAA as U-20s lift some of hurling gloom



THERE were contrasting emotions between last Wednesday and Saturday for Offaly stakeholders as progression in the Leinster U20 hurling championship was followed up by exiting the All Ireland Senior Football Championship qualifiers in round 3.

Last Wednesday night saw the U20 hurlers come of age with an enthralling 1-29 to 2-25 win over hot favourites Dublin in the Leinster U20 hurling championship after extra time. It was Offaly's biggest win at U21/U20 level since beating Wexford in 2008 as Cathal Kiely chipped in with a massive 20 points over the 80 odd minutes.

They now take on Wexford tonight (Wednesday) in the semi final in O'Connor Park as Offaly hurling enjoys some positivity for a change.

Gary Cahill and Shane Hand have done great work with this group and will have a real cut of the Wexford men tonight.

A win over the Model County would guarantee Offaly an All Ireland semi final as with Galway and Antrim now in the Leinster championship, the semi finals will consist of the finalists in both the Munster and Leinster championships.

Meanwhile on Saturday last, the senior footballers crashed out of the championship coming up short in a 0-20 to 0-15 defeat at the hands of Laois in O'Moore Park.

Like Wednesday night in Dublin, a big Offaly following made the short trip over to Portlaoise but Laois ended up deserving five point winners.

Level at half time, 0-10 each, Laois kicked on in the second half with Offaly wasting some gilt edge chances. The strength of the Laois bench also told on the night as Offaly now finish up for the year before returning in 2020 for the Division three league.

John Maughan's men did get a prolonged stay in the championship and were in round three of the qualifiers for the first time since 2010 but they did get a favourable draw with London and Sligo at home.

The senior club championship will kick off on the weekend of the 20th July. See inside for detailed reports of all the weekend's GAA activity.

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