Superb Screeney inspires Offaly to Leinster triumph
Oneills.com Leinster Under-20 Hurling Championship final
Offaly 1-21 Wexford 0-22
Offaly were crowned Leinster U-20 hurling champions after a thrilling victory over Wexford at a packed Netwatch Cullen Park last night (Wednesday).
Adam Screeney's 42nd-minute goal proved crucial to the outcome as Offaly managed to overcome the dismissal of team captain Charlie Mitchell. The Offaly captain was shown a second yellow card shortly before the outstanding Screeney struck for the game's only green flag.
Screeney finished the game with 1-12 to his credit, 1-3 from play, while Cian Byrne scored 14 points for a battling but somewhat wasteful Wexford side.
Offaly had made people sit up and take notice with a sensational win over Galway (All-Ireland minor champions three years ago) in their Leinster quarter-final, and they backed it up with a semi-final victory over Dublin.
And with half a dozen starters from last year’s Leinster championship winning minor team, Offaly’s youthful outfit went on to lift silverware last night.
The start of the match was put back until 7.45pm due to traffic congestion as both sides brought plenty of support to the Carlow venue, particularly Offaly.
Despite opening the scoring through Corey Byrne Dunbar, Wexford were guilty of wasteful shooting in the first half. Leo O'Connor's men were far more economical as scores from Screeney, Charlie Mitchell and Cathal King put them in the ascendancy.
Although Wexford responded, the scoring prowess of Screeney ensured Offaly led 0-11 to 0-9 at half-time.
Keith Rossiter's charges drew level shortly after the restart but, crucially, they were never able to get their noses in front during the second half.
Points by Dan Bourke and Conor Doyle showed Offaly's ability to respond when needed and after the sending-off of Mitchell, Cormac Egan's pass set up a goal chance for Screeney. The Kilcormac/Killoughey youngster fired an angled low shot past Derry Mahon and into the Wexford net.
With Byrne's scoring ability to the fore, Wexford drew level by the 59th minute, but again Offaly responded. Two pointed frees from Screeney, either side of a Dan Ravenhill's point from play, sealed victory for Offaly in a tense and frenetic finale.
With no All-Ireland semi-finals in this competition, Offaly will now meet Munster champions Cork in the All-Ireland decider, which is due to be played on Saturday week, May 27 (venue to be confirmed at the time of writing).
It has been an enthralling All-Ireland U-20 championship thus far, with last night's Leinster decider in addition to the Kilkenny v Wexford semi-final and the Cork's Munster final win over Clare just some of the highlights.
Now Offaly will be bidding for their first All-Ireland hurling success in either the U-21 or U-20 grade - the grade was changed to U-20 from the 2019 championship onwards.
Scorers - Offaly: A Screeney 1-12 (0-8f, 0-1 65); D Ravenhill 0-3 (1f); C Doyle and D Bourke 0-2 each; C Mitchell and C King 0-1 each. Wexford: Cian Byrne 0-14 (10f); Cillian Byrne 0-2; C Byrne Dunbar, D Carley, S Rowley, L Murphy, JJ Twamley and D Purcell 0-1 each.
Offaly: Mark Troy; Patrick Taaffe, James Mahon, Brecon Kavanagh; Luke Watkins, Sam Bourke, Ter Guinan; Colin Spain, Cathal King; Dan Bourke, Dan Ravenhill, Conor Doyle; Adam Screeney, Charlie Mitchell, Cormac Egan. Subs: Barry Egan for King (55 mins).
Wexford: Derry Mahon; Simon Roche, Eoin Whelan, Darragh Kehoe; Conor Foley, Darragh Carley, Michael Dundon; Seán Rowley, Conor Murphy; Cian Byrne, Luke Murphy, Corey Byrne-Dunbar; Cillian Byrne, Shamey O'Hagan, Jack Redmond. Subs: Dylan Purcell for C Murphy (23 mins), JJ Twamley for Redmond (half-time), Darragh Farrell for Dundon (48), Oisín Pepper for L Murphy (56).
Referee: Thomas Gleeson (Dublin).