Goals were the key as the Offaly minor camogie team started their All Ireland B Championship with a dramatic one point win over Dublin in Artane on a scoreline of Offaly 4-5 Dublin 2-10.
Goals key as Offaly down Dublin
Played in a bitterly cold conditions with some heavy flurries of snow, particularly in the second half, Offaly scored three second half goals against the wind to secure the victory.
Grainne Egan and Rachel Brennan were very much the stars of the show in attack for Offaly. Egan scored 1-4 and she set up two more goals while Brennan showed a clinical eye for goal with the full-forward firing home two crucial goals.
Another feature of the game was the tenacity of the Offaly defence which kept Dublin at bay when the game was on the line in the closing minutes with Kelly Sammon and Clodagh Shanahan very much to the fore.
After Helen Dolan opened the scoring for Offaly, Dublin hit back with a quick fire 1-2 to move into the lead playing against the wind with Mary Cronin scoring the goal.
Offaly responded well however and were back in the lead by the 19th minute. A point from Grainne Egan closed the gap before Mairead Jennings scored an opportunist goal to level the scores. Grainne Egan added another point soon after as Offaly moved back into the lead for the second time in the game.
Dublin hit back with two points, one apiece for Aisling McDonald and Vanessa Boland to get their noses back in front but Offaly finished the half strongly with two more points from Egan to go to the break with a slender 1-5 to 1-4 lead.
With the snow coming down heavily at the start of the second-half, Offaly stuck for a second goal when great pressure forced a turnover close to the Dublin goal and the outstanding Grainne Egan was on hand to apply the finish to the back of the net.
Dublin responded with two points from the hugely influential Mary Cronin to get back within two but Offaly struck for a third goal soon after with Rachel Brennan on the end of a flowing move involving Ann Marie Guinan and Mairead Jennings.
Points from the outstanding Mary Cronin and a goal from Laura Smith got Dublin back within one and they were applying considerable pressure at this stage but yet again Offaly responded with another brilliant length of the pitch passing move. They quickly turned defence into attack and with Dublin pushing forward, they opened up the defence with Grainne Egan playing the final pass and Rachel Brennan applying the finish.
In a game that turned one way and then the other, Dublin came back again with Cronin hitting three points to get her side back within one.
Offaly defended brilliantly throughout the game with Kelly Sammon and Clodagh Shanahan playing particularly well as the defence repelled several Dublin attacks.
Dublin, cheered on by the home support, kept pressing forward and in injury-time Mary Cronin had a chance to level the scores with a long range free but it dropped just short and when Offaly cleared their lines, the final whistle went with Offaly still a point ahead.
The win puts Offaly in a great position in their three team group with a game against Waterford still to come. The top two teams come out of the group and into the All Ireland semi-finals. Waterford play Dublin next and should Waterford win that game, Offaly are assured of a place in the last four.
Scorers: Dublin: Mary Cronin 1-6 (0-3f), Laura Smith 1-1, Vanessa Boland 0-1, Roisin Baker 0-1, Aisling McDonald 0-1f. Offaly: Grainne Egan 1-4 (0-2f), Rachel Brennan 0-2, Mairead Jennings 1-0, Helen Dolan 0-1
Dublin: Aoife Reilly; Anna Walsh, Rachel Kenny, Eilise O'Grady; Sophie Lyons, Laura Kilcoyne, Ciara Gibbons; Ailise Dowling, Vanessa Boland; Mary Cronin, Laura Smith, Lily Conway; Aisling McDonald, Roisin Baker, Amber O'Connor. Sub: Laura Mulvey for Amber O'Connor (48mins)
Offaly: Siobhan Kinsella; Laura Hogan, Roisin Egan, Paula Kinnarney; Ann Marie Guinan, Kelly Sammon, Aisling Brennan; Lauren Keneghan, Ciara Ryan; Mairead Jennings, Grainne Egan, Christine Cleary; Colleen Fitzgerald, Rachel Brennan, Helen Dolan. Subs: Clodagh Shanahan for Paul Kinnarney (inj) (2mins), Eimear Mooney for Christine Cleary (55mins), Jessica Maloney for Ciara Ryan (55mins)
Referee: Malachy McToal