Bord Gáis Energy Leinster GAA Under 21 Hurling Championship Final
Offaly v Dublin
Wednesday 6th Of July
Venue: O’Connor Park, Tullamore,
This season’s Bord Gáis Energy Leinster Under 21 Hurling Championship has already generated plenty of talking points, and now Dublin and Offaly are bidding to grab the headlines again as they meet in the final at O’Connor Park.
Dublin have already defeated reigning champions Wexford and giant-killers Westmeath, while Offaly hit five goals against both Kildare and Carlow.
The Faithful County will hope that home advantage gives them an edge, whereas Dublin will be looking for a second provincial title in the space of four days, following on from their minor team’s heroics last Sunday.
Both counties have five titles each in this grade, with Dublin’s most recent triumph coming in 2011 and Offaly last collecting the silverware in 2000.
Wexford had completed a three-in-a-row of Leinster Championships in 2015, but Dublin ended their dominance with an emphatic quarter-final victory on the 1st June.
Sean Ryan and Sean Treacy netted a goal apiece early in the second half and they confidently progressed with a 2-12 to 1-8 winning margin. Dublin may have expected to face Kilkenny in the semi-final, but Westmeath upset the odds and beat The Cats in dramatic fashion in Mullingar.
And the Lake County forced Dublin to dig deep at Parnell Park, where Chris Bennett came up trumps with two superb goals. Dublin had six points to spare at the end, 2-17 to 1-14, having led by only one at the break.
Offaly had an easier path to the final, with big wins over Kildare (5-22 to 1-12) and Carlow (5-16 to 1-13). Emmett Noland Oisin Kelly have been their main scoring threats, but news that senior panellist Cillian Kiely is out with an injury is a setback.
Dublin will feature four players who started last Saturday night’s All-Ireland SHC qualifier against Cork – Eoghan O’Donnell, James Madden, Shane Barrett and Chris Bennett – while Seán Treacy was introduced as a second half substitute.
Five of Offaly’s starting 15, including team captain David O’Toole, were introduced in their All-Ireland qualifier defeat to Wexford last Saturday evening, but they will hope for a better result this evening.
DUBLIN: John Treacy; Eoghan O’Donnell, James Madden, Cian Hendricken; Shane Barrett, Cian Mac Gabhann, Jake Malone; John Bellew, Mark Mccallion; Chris Bennett, Sean Treacy, Cian Boland; Andrew Jamieson, Sean O Riain, Colm O’Neill
OFFALY: Eoghan Cahill; Darren Healy, David O’Toole Greene, Paddy Delaney; Dan Doughan, Ben Conneely, Adrian Cleary; Darragh Wyer, Padraic Guinan; Johnny O’Toole Greene, Emmet Nolan, Ronan Hughes; Conor Freeman, Oisin Kelly, Dylan Murray.