All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Qualifier Preliminary Round – Waterford 0-21 Offaly 1-14

Refreshed Déise turn on style

Offaly 1-14 Waterford 0-21

By John Fogarty (GAA Correspondent for the Irish Examiner newspaper)

You imagine there’ll be sterner examinations of Waterford but they disposed of Offaly with a consummate display at O’Connor Park on Saturday evening. Stephen O’Keeffe may have been called to make two late saves, the first a majestically instinctive one from a Daniel Currams shot, but the visitors dictated matters for the majority of the affair. Had James McGrath awarded a couple of merited Waterford penalty shouts in the second half, things could have been a lot more comfortable for them. On an evening when, according to O’Keeffe, Maurice Shanahan stepped out of his older brother Dan’s shadow, Waterford shot 17 wides, two more than their total against Clare.

Shanahan was excellent throughout even if he did contribute three wides but Michael Ryan wasn’t too perturbed by his side’s profligacy despite it raising its ugly head for the second time in as many games. “The plus side is that we got 21 scores and 17 wides, which meant that we had 38 shots at the posts away from home. Maybe some guys did feel under pressure. This win will be great for our team and our belief.” After a week when former Waterford defender Brian Greene questioned the fitness of the team, Ryan was pleased their critics had been answered in front of the 8,200 O’Connor Park crowd. “Despite what some people have been saying, we have a very high level of fitness. We’ve had more than 100 field sessions and our fitness is very good. “Offaly had a major boost coming in having played so well against Kilkenny. We felt if we kept our composure, we would have a very good chance. “We didn’t talk about what people said. The only thing I am interested in is the 32 or 33 players in with us. “What happens with us is all that matters. We are a united bunch, we work hard together. People are entitled to their opinion, but for me it is what happens within that matters.”

Shanahan spoke similarly about the character shown by the players. “Everybody had to stand up because people were writing this Waterford team off. This Waterford team isn’t a bad team and we’re going to drive it on now.” As Ollie Baker stated afterwards, both teams played better against the wind, Offaly choosing to face it in the first half after winning the toss. Like in the Kilkenny game, Offaly goaled early when Shane Dooley pounced on a slack hand-pass by Liam Lawlor to Shane Fives in the eighth minute. Offaly then lost Derek Molloy to a serious leg injury and were pegged back in the 17th minute with Shanahan’s second free of the game. Offaly got their noses in front again but four unanswered Waterford points followed, Shanahan contributing three of them.

Backed by the bellowing breeze, they posted seven wides in the first half but went in four ahead at the break — 0-11 to 1-4 — thanks in no small part to Shanahan and Jake Dillon, who was causing bother in the half-forward line. The question was would that margin of advantage be enough facing the wind in the second half and it appeared insufficient 12 minutes into the second half when a Kevin Brady point levelled the game. However, Waterford responded quickly via Brian O’Sullivan and within two minutes, the Déise had gone two points ahead once more.

Seamus Prendergast also had a genuine penalty claim turned down as well and Dillon could have found the net but for kicking the ball wide from close range. Scores from Brian O’Sullivan and Shanahan stretched Waterford’s lead to three by the 54th minute and with Michael Walsh and Noel Connors composed in most of the ball that came their way, their team had developed quite the foothold in the game. Once again, Offaly’s half-forward line disappointed while sub Pauric Mahony’s move to centre-forward in the second half worked a treat for Waterford. Only three points separated the sides with five minutes remaining but Shanahan turned on the style to pick off a couple of scores with Offaly managing just one score from Currams. The full-forward could have made it a one-point game in the penultimate minute of normal time but O’Keeffe was equal to his goalbound effort and the follow-up.

Baker rued those saved chances. “There were no real opportunities to take long- distance strikes. “Oddly enough it wasn’t wides that cost us, it was just that we weren’t able to get enough ball. “Their keeper made two fine saves there at the end of it and if one of them had gone in, I think we would have gone on. It just wasn’t meant to be.”

Scorers for Offaly: S Dooley (1-4, 0-4 frees); D Currams, K Brady, J Bergin, B Carroll (0-2 each); C Mahon, D Morkan (0-1 each).

Scorers for Waterford: M Shanahan (0-13, 5 frees); B O’Sullivan (0-3); J Dillon (0-2); K Moran, S O’Sullivan, P Prendergast (0-1 each).

OFFALY: J Dempsey; C McDonald, D Kenny, D Mooney; R Hanniffy, G Healion, D Morkan; B Carroll, K Brady; C Egan, D Molloy, C Slevin; S Dooley, D Currams, J Bergin.

Subs for Offaly: C Mahon for D Molloy (inj 13); P Cleary for D Mooney (35+6); S Cleary for C Slevin (52); S Gardner for P Cleary (56); S Ryan for K Brady (70+1).

WATERFORD: S O’Keeffe; S Fives, L Lawlor, N Connors; J Nagle, M Walsh, D Fives; P Prendergast, K Moran; J Dillon, S Prendergast, S O’Sullivan; J Barron, M Shanahan, B O’Sullivan.

Subs for Waterford: P Mahony for J Barron (35+5); M O’Neill for S Prendergast (59); R Foley for D Fives (63); R Barry for J Nagle (inj 70).

Referee: James McGrath (Westmeath)


Shanahan stars as Waterford beat Offaly

Report from the web site

All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Preliminary Round: Offaly 1-14 Waterford 0-21

Waterford moved into Phase 1 of the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Qualifiers with a deserved four-point win over Offaly at O’Connor Park on Saturday night. Maurice Shanahan hit a remarkable 0-13 points (eight from play) for the Déise in a superb individual performance, helping to set up a meeting with Westmeath next Saturday. After playing with the wind in the first half, Waterford were 0-13 to 1-6 ahead at the break, but Offaly hit the first three points of the second half and were then level when Kevin Brady hit the target 10 minutes into the second half.

However, with Michael Walsh outstanding in the final quarter, Waterford finished the game superbly and goalkeeper Stephen O’Keeffe made a superb double save from Dan Currams late on to deny Offaly. Waterford moved two points clear after seven minutes, with Jake Dillon grabbing two early points from play as both sets of players struggled to come to terms with the very blustery conditions. The wind may have been a factor in Offaly’s goal, which came after Waterford defender Liam Lawlor tried to handpass a ball out from the back to a team-mate, but Shane Dooley intercepted the pass and hammered a shot past Déise goalkeeper O’Keeffe.

An injury to Offaly defender Derek Molloy held the game up by five minutes and it was around the quarter hour mark that Shanahan’s influence on the game began to tell. He dropped over two frees and then hit three in a sequence of four unanswered scores that put Waterford 0-8 to 1-2 ahead after 27 minutes. Brady pulled one back for the home side, who were playing against a very stiff breeze in the first half, but then Shane O’Sullivan and Shanahan nudged the Déise four clear for the first time. In the seven minutes of added time played due to the earlier injury, Shanahan, who was doing plenty of damage to the Offaly defence, landed his seventh of the game before Brian O’Sullivan wrapped up the scoring to leave the visitors 0-13 to 1-6 up at the break.

However, Offaly made a superb start to the second half, with Brian Carroll landing two scores and Ger Healion adding another before Shanahan stemmed the tide with a badly needed free for Waterford. Brady soon had Offaly level and it looked like their momentum – and the stiff breeze – would carry them into the lead, but Waterford showed great character to hit four points in a row, Brian O’Sullivan and Shanahan grabbing two each from play in a crucial spell that left them 0-18 to 1-12 ahead.

Derek Morkan gave Offaly hope with a lovely score from play, but ‘Brick’ Walsh was a rock at centre-back and he dominated the final quarter of the game allowing Shanahan to clip over three more points in the final 10 minutes. Offaly needed a goal and they got their big chance when Currams broke clear but his shot was blocked by O’Keeffe and the Waterford goalkeeper showed brilliant awareness and reactions to flick the rebound clear, and Waterford had the game as good as won.

Waterford Scorers: J Dillon 0-2, M Shanahan 0-13 (0-5f), K Moran 0-1, S O’Sullivan 0-1, P Prendergast 0-1, B O’Sullivan 0-3.

Offaly Scorers: S Dooley 1-4 (0-4f), D Currams 0-2, K Brady 0-2, C Mahon 0-1, J Bergin 0-2, B Carroll 0-2, D Morkan 0-1

Waterford: S O’Keeffe; S Fives, L Lawlor, N Connors; J Nagle, M Walsh, D Fives; P Prendergast, K Moran; J Dillon, S Prendergast, S O’Sullivan; J Barron, M Shanahan, B O’Sullivan. Subs: P Mahony for J Barron (39), M O’Neill for S Prendergast (58), R Foley for D Fives (62).

Offaly: J Dempsey; C McDonald, D Kenny, D Mooney; R Hanniffy, G Healion, D Morkan; B Carroll, K Brady; C Egan, D Molloy, C Slevin; S Dooley, D Currams, J Bergin. Subs: C Mahon for D Molloy (12), P Cleary for D Mooney (42), S Cleary for C Slevin (51), S Gardner for P Cleary (56), S Ryan for K Brady (68).

Referee: James McGrath


Offaly 1-14 Waterford 0-21

Report from the web site

Maurice Shanahan hit 13 points and fired Waterford to a 0-21 to 1-14 win over Offaly at O’Connor Park Tullamore. Shanahan was sublime for the Deise men, who recovered from the concession of an early Shane Dooley goal to power to the win with a determined finish, despite hitting 17 wides. Michael Ryan’s side now face Westmeath in the next round, where they will be hot favourites to progress after an improved display.

Midway through the second half it looked as if the home side would push on to the win after they overturned a four-point half-time deficit, but led by Shanahan and the excellent Brian O’Sullivan, Waterford finished the stronger. Waterford got off to a great start with a couple of quick Jake Dillon points, but they soon found themselves on the hind foot when Shane Dooley punished a poor defensive hand pass by Liam Lawlor and rattled the net for Offaly in the seventh minute.

However the goal was tinged with negativity for the home side as centre-forward Derek Molloy was stretchered off with a nasty look leg injury picked up in the lead up to the score. After five minutes of a stoppage to deal with Molloy’s injury, Offaly did well to hit the ground running again and Dan Currams landed a battling score for the home side after Kevin Brady’s arrowed pass picked him out in the corner.

At that stage Offaly looked dominant as David Kenny was managing to keep Shanahan under control, while centre-back Ger Healion was also performing admirably. However Shanahan soon went in search of possession and he hit form after a couple of quick frees got him off the mark. From then until the break the Offaly replies were fleeting and a run of four points in a row from Waterford including three Shanahan points from play gave them a 0-13 to 1-6 lead at the break.

At half-time it was questioned whether Waterford had built up a large enough lead after playing with the aid of a stiff breeze, but Deise fans needn’t have worried. There would have been moments of concern, however, as two rapid fire Brian Carroll points and another from his midfield colleague Kevin Brady drew Offaly level in the 47th minute. But it was all square for less than a minute as Brian O’Sullivan hit a great score from the wing, and Shanahan and co wrapped up the victory in the closing stages.

Waterford: S O’Keffe; S Fives, L Lawlor, N Connors; J Nagle, M Walsh, D Fives; P Prendergast (0-01), K Moran (0-01); J Dillon (0-02), S Prendergast, S O’Sullivan (0-01); J Barron, M Shanahan (0-13, 0-05f), B O’Sullivan (0-03).

Subs: P Mahony for Barron (35+5 mins), M O’Neill for S Prendergast (58 mins), R Foley for D Fives (63 mins).

Offaly: J Dempsey; C McDonald, D Kenny, D Mooney; R Hanniffy, G Healion, D Morkan (0-01); B Carroll (0-02), K Brady (0-02); C Egan, D Molloy, C Slevin; S Dooley (1-04, 0-04f), D Currams (0-02), J Bergin (0-02).

Subs: C Mahon (0-01) for Molloy (12 mins), P Cleary for Mooney (35+7 mins), S Cleary for Slevin (52 mins), S Gardner for P Cleary (56 mins), S Ryan for Brady (70 mins).

Referee: James McGrath (Westmeath)


Team News

The Waterford Senior Hurling Team to play Offaly on Saturday evening next in O’Connor Park, Tullamore was announced after training tonight.

1. Stephen O’Keeffe Ballygunner

2. Shane Fives Carrigtwohill

3. Liam Lawlor Fourmilewater

4. Noel Connors Passage

5. Jamie Nagle Dungarvan

6. Michael Walsh Stradbally

7. Darragh Fives Tourin

8. Paudie Prendergast Lismore

9. Kevin Moran (CAPT.) De La Salle

10. Jake Dillon De La Salle

11. Seamus Prendergast Ardmore

12. Shane O’Sullivan Ballygunner

13 Jamie Barron Fourmilewater

14. Maurice Shanahan Lismore

15. Brian O’Sullivan Ballygunner

Match Preview

This will be only the third senior championship game between the counties, having met for the first time in the All-Ireland qualifiers in 2005 when Waterford won by 1-26 to 1-15 at Dr.Cullen Park. Their second meeting was in the 2008 All-Ireland qualifiers when Waterford won by 2-18 in 0-18 in Thurles. Eoin Kelly scored 2-13 of Waterford’s total while Brian Carroll hit 0-9 for Offaly.

Both counties have had one outing in this year’s championship with Offaly losing to Kilkenny by 0-26 to 4-9 in the Leinster quarter-final and Waterford losing to Clare by 2-20 to 1-15 in the Munster quarter-final. Waterford led Clare by four points and the sides were level at the three quarter stage before Clare won the last quarter by 2-6 to 0-4. Offaly led Kilkenny by 2-4 to 0-5 after 18 minutes and by 2-6 to 0-11at half-time but Kilkenny powered on in the second half, which they won by 0-15 to 2-3. Joe Bergin (2-0), Colin Egan (1-2) and Shane Dooley 0-5 (0-4 frees, 0-1 ‘65’) were Offaly’s top scorers.

The winners will play London or Westmeath in the next qualifying round on Saturday week.