DERRY GAA: Offaly super sub Eoghan Cahill shoots down Oak hurlers
Super sub Eoghan Cahill made all the difference for Offaly as another encouraging display from Derry went unrewarded despite matching the highly fancied midlanders for most of the first half and actually leading by two points at one stage.
In the end, Cahill won the match on his own, scoring 12 points after being introduced three minutes before half time. Derry battled all the way but the loss of so many players from last year’s team saw them being overwhelmed in the last 20 minutes like they had against Kerry in the opener.
Yet while it may have been a heavy enough defeat at the end, manager Johnny McGarvey will be pleased with the commitment of his young team. They never conceded a goal despite immense pressure and teenager James Friel at midfield once again showed he is one for the future.
When league favourites Offaly upped the ante, Derry were struggling in all sectors. To score 1-15 against an Offaly team that will be playing senior championship hurling in the near future is no bad return but the emergence of Birr player Cahill off the bench signalled a sea change. His stuttering, misfiring team were struggling to get out of third gear against a determined Derry team who were level at 0-08 each at that stage and there were plenty of areas of concern. Offaly had hit
11 very bad wides prior to Cahill’s introduction in a very unsatisfactory half hour’s work but they were a much more potent outfit with Cahill.
Cahill got three points almost in the blink of an eye as Offaly went on a five-point scoring run. They were five points clear when Reese McSorley flicked the ball to the net for an injury time Derry goal after goalie Stephen Corcoran got caught in no man’s land.
Two points was a fortunate enough half-time lead but Offaly were never in a moment of danger in the second half.
Cahill continued to excel, getting two more points as they led by 0-18 to 1-09 after 41 minutes. He got five points from play between the 32nd and 40th minutes, plus two minutes of injury time which was a serious, game changing return.
Derry simply had no answer to this brilliant hurler but missed a few handy frees and at one stage and could have been much closer at the run in. Offaly though got nine points without reply as the contest petered out.
It leaves the home side with full points from their two games and it will be a major surprise if they aren’t around for the knockout stages, though there are still three games to come.
OFFALY: Stephen Corcoran; Ben Conneely, Ciaran Burke, Oisin Murphy; Killian Sampson (0-2), Jason Sampson, David King (0-1); Ross Ravenhill (0-2), Jack Clancy; Oisin Kelly, Cillian Kiely (0-2), Adrian Cleary (0-2); Paddy Clancy (0-1), Charlie Mitchell (0-4), David Nally (0-6, 2f and 2 ‘65s). Subs: Eoghan Cahill (0-12, 4f, 1 ’65) for J Clancy (32), Brian Duignan (0-1) for Kelly (HT), John Murphy for P Clancy (HT), Jack Screeney for O Murphy (43)
DERRY: Eoin Mulholland; Sean Francis Quinn, Mark Craig (0-1), Ronan Mullan; Sean Cassidy, Paul Cleary, Meehaul McGrath; James Friel (0-7, 6f), Padhraig Neilis; Cormac O’Doherty (0-3, 2f), Darragh McGilligan (0-1), Corey O’Reilly; John Mullan (0-1), Richie Mullan (0-2, 1f), Reese McSorley (1-0). Subs – Callum O’Kane for Neilis (44), Eamon Conway for McSorley (54), Cahal Quinn for R Mullan (64), Kosta Papachristopoulos for Cleary (66), Cormac Gough for O’Reilly (73)
Referee: Callum Cunning (Antrim)