Joyous scenes at Semple as Faithful march into All-Ireland MHC final

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There were joyous scenes on the field of FBD Semple Stadium on Friday night as thousands of jubilant Offaly supporters spilled onto the pitch in Thurles to hail their minor hurlers’ progression to a first All-Ireland final since 1989.

oals from Adam Screeney and Conor Doyle in either half were the key scores that pushed the Faithful County past a resilient effort from Clare, but no less important was their ability to protect their own goal.

Clare settled first, striking the opening four points. It wasn’t until the 14th minute that Offaly got off the mark and then hit the front. Donal Shirley struck a majestic score from the touchline in between two pointed frees, before Adam Screeney showed composure to round his man and float the sliotar over the Clare goalkeeper.

The contest exploded into life early in the second half when Jack O’Neill and Oisín Whelan registered scores for Clare, but Offaly took a six-point lead through a Conor Doyle goal and long-range points from captain Dan Ravenhill.

Clare found another surge, with Cian Neylon on target twice, but good defensive work from Rúairí Kelly denied the Kilmaley man a look at goal just when it seemed as if Diarmuid Strich had opened up the Offaly defence, and the second goal the Banner boys needed never came.

Scorers:

Offaly: A Screeney 1-5 (0-5f), D Ravenhill 0-6 (0-3f), C Doyle 1-0, D Shirley 0-1, D Hand 0-1, C Martin 0-1, L Kavanagh 0-1, S Rigney 0-1.

Clare: O Whelan 0-8 (0-6f, 0-1 65), C Neylon 0-3, J Organ 0-2, J O’Neill 0-2, M O’Halloran 0-1, D Stritch 0-1, S Scanlon 0-1.

TEAMS –

OFFALY – L Hoare; C Larkin, J Mahon, R Kelly; T Guinan, B Kavanagh, D Shirley; N Furlong, C Martin; C Doyle, D Ravenhill, L Kavanagh; A Screeney, S Rigney, C Robinson. Subs: R McNamara for Treacy (36-38, temp), P Ó Sé for Collins (39), D Keane Hayes for Neylon (57), R McNamara for Moylan (60+3), F Hegarty for Whelan (60+4).

CLARE – M Sheedy; E Gunning, F Treacy, J Cahill; S McMahon, J Hegarty, J Moylan; M O’Halloran, D Stritch; M Collins, J O’Neill, J Organ; S Scanlon, O Whelan, C Neylon. Subs: D Hand for Robinson (half-time), S Connolly for Martin (60+3).

Ref: K Jordan (Tipperary)



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