Kilkenny will face Dublin in the National league final after they beat division 2 bound Offaly 1-27 to 1-19 in an uninspiring game at Nowlan Park. Fan’s could have been forgiven that this was a Leinster derby with relegation and final places at stake as both sides failed to inspire despite a high scoring first half that saw a goal and 25 points.
Kilkenny were the first out of the blocks with Richie Hogan opening the scoring with a point before Offaly’s survival hopes were rocked with a goal from Eddie Brennan as Kilkenny raced into 1-15 to 10 point half time lead.
TJ Reid with 6, Michael Rice, Hogan and ‘Cha’ Fitzpatrick all chipped in with points for Brian Coady’s men while for Offaly team captain Shane Dooley led way with five points by the half time whistle with team mates Conor Mahon, Brian Carroll, Cathal Parlon and Joe Bergin also adding points.
Despite a change of referee, Anthony Stapleton limping off to be replaced by Barry Kelly and a Shane Dooley goal on 54 minutes, the eight point half time lead remained through to the final whistle with Kilkenny racking up 12 points to Offaly’s 9. Kilkenny were sloppy in patches accumulating a number of wides throughout the game and will have to improve ahead of the clash with Dublin.
Hogan, Reid and Rice were the stand out for performers for Kilkenny although the game the end of the game was marred by a worrying injury to Urlingford man Aidan Fogarty, the substitute being stretchered off with a suspected broke ankle.
In the end Offaly’s sixth defeat of the league campaign means they will be playing Division 2 hurling next year while for Kilkenny limp on to their 7th league final in 10 years.