Kilkenny defeated Offaly yesterday in the Electric Ireland Leinster Minor Hurling Quarter-Final in Bord Na Mona Faithful Fields
It was do or die for both of these teams in yesterday’s Leinster minor hurling quarter-final as Kilkenny traveled to Kilcormac to take on the faithful county. Offaly started the game with only one player who played in last year’s All-Ireland final. The home side started brighter and had a brace of points on the scoreboard very quickly. Kilkenny took a while to get into the game but when they got to grips with the faithful system they took over and dominated the first half. That was evident when Conor Doyle got in for the cat’s first goal of the half. This was quickly followed up with a fantastic goal from full forward Ed McDermott, the athletic player was causing problems for the Offaly defense for the majority of that half. The visitors went into the break with a three-point lead 2-5 to 0-8 and truth be told the gap could have been wider.
The second half went pretty much the same as the first, Offaly came out of the blocks faster, and within three minutes of the restart, there was only one point in it. Kilkenny was playing very well and with Mikey Stynes and David Barcoe to the fore from the backs the distribution of the ball was top-class, the one negative was the number of silly wides that Kilkenny had, they were getting great results when the correct balls were been put into the forwards, but they didn’t do enough of that. Despite that, they did have a seven-point lead by the 21st minute. Offaly pushed the cat’s right to the very end and threatened Billy O’Sullivan on a number of occasions during the second half but they couldn’t convert the chances. Kilkenny held out for victory and progress into the Leinster Semi-Final.
Speaking to KCLR after the game manager Niall Bergin was happy with the result but knows his side will need to improve:
“We came up to win the game and that’s exactly what we did, obviously we knew it was going to be a big battle here in Faithful Fields, that Offaly wasn’t going to lie down and they threw everything at us but our lads dealt with it, we need to improve if we’re going to go any further in the competition but we have a Leinster semi-final to look forward to next weekend and that was the main aim all throughout the year so from the side of things that’s were we want to be”
“We need to improve our shooting that’s for sure, we’re creating the chances but we’re not taking them, and it’s something that we need to work on if we’re going to go further in the competition, on a plus side we’re creating those opportunities, there was a strong wind there and we didn’t realize it till we went out onto the pitch its quite an open field and Offaly had it in the first half, it was good to be going in leading at three having left chances behind, in the second half I felt we took over but we weren’t putting the scores on the board and when you do that your going to leave a team in it but thankfully we saw the game out”
With an abundance of wides in the second half, Bergin wasn’t happy with most of them “They seem to tail off the same post on the right post as your shooting pout to the roadside of the pitch, look we need to improve on that”
Ed McDermott was only coming back from injury and wasn’t fully fit for the game but still managed to get 1-4 and Niall was delighted to have the James Stephens player back:
“Delighted for Ed, he’s a great fella he’s been through the mill over the past couple of months, he missed out on the Colleges All-Ireland in terms of starting or getting an opportunity to get to play in Croke Park, his attitude has been exemplary and he’s worked so hard to get back on the field, we do need him and he’s a leader of our team as well”
“The lads are improving all the time, their attitude is top class, and when you have that and they’re willing to work hard and have the fantastic support of the parent’s things will happen, bit by bit things are happening, the lads are growing in confidence, they’re getting better and we look forward to the Leinster semi-final and see what that brings”
You can listen back to Niall’s interview on Scoreline Extra at the link below