Offaly manager Michael Fennelly was full of praise for his team as they eased into a Christy Ring Cup final on Saturday after a 6-30 to 0-11 victory against Wicklow.
Speaking to Joe Troy of Midlands 103 after the semi-final win, Fennelly said that a combination of a strong performance from his charges and an early red card to Wicklow man Ciarán Breen allowed his team to easily advance to the decider.
“We’ve set standards for ourselves over the last few months and the lads really drove them on today to a completely different level.
“Wicklow made it hard for themselves by getting a man sent off so early in the game and that allowed us the space to hurt them,” said Fennelly.
With the final taking place next weekend, the 2011 Hurler of the Year said that his team must remain focused and realise that there is work to be done before they face Derry.
“The final is now in seven days so we will prepare for that now quickly enough. There’s not a lot of time to celebrate today’s win.
“Some of our passing wasn’t crisp enough and that’s something we’ll have to improve on before the final.”
The Ballyhale Shamrocks clubman stressed the importance of creating a “winning culture” in Offaly and said that he only wants players who are committed to the side.
“Culture is key. There’s no point in me coming into Offaly and leaving after a year. It takes serious work to build a culture in a county and a lot of time on top of that.
“We want lads who want to play for Offaly. That’s key. There’s no point in me going around trying to twist lads’ arms to play.”
“They have a serious bunch of hurlers in Derry. We beat Derry last year but Down beat us, and Derry should have defeated Down when they faced each other. So, every game is on its own merit and it will be a tight game.”