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Noel Connors of Waterford in action against Kevin Connolly of Offaly during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1B Round 1 match between Waterford and Offaly at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Co. Tipperary. 
Noel Connors of Waterford in action against Kevin Connolly of Offaly during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1B Round 1 match between Waterford and Offaly at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Co. Tipperary. 

Allianz HL D1B: Waterford too good for Offaly

Allianz Hurling League Division 1B


By Brian Lowry at Semple Stadium

Waterford eased past Offaly to open their Division 1B campaign with an emphatic and facile win. The result was never in doubt as they raced out of the blocks to lead from pillar to post.

Two second half goals from DJ Foran and substitute Jack Prendergast rubber stamped their authority and, in truth, they were full value for their 27 point win.

Stephen Bennett was the star of the show with 16 points to his name as Offaly only managed two points from play over the 70 minutes.

Offaly played with the wind in the opening half but that didn’t stop Waterford coming out of the blocks on the front foot.

Stephen Bennett was in good form and he landed four frees and one from play as Waterford roared into a 0-6 to 0-0 lead inside 15 minutes. Offaly keeper Eoghan Cahill also pulled off a spectacular save in that period as the Deise found room all too easily up front.

DJ Foran added his second score before Offaly finally got off the mark on 17 minutes when Coolderry club man Kevin Connolly bisected the posts.

Waterford continued to dominate despite playing against the strong wind and Thomas Ryan really should have found the net from close range but instead shot wide. Shane Bennett followed that up with another miss and the Offaly goals were living a charmed life.

Bennett went some way to make up for that miss with a super score from out near the sideline but Offaly hit back with two points in the space of a minute from Eoghan Cahill (free) and Kevin Connolly to leave it 0-9 to 0-4 with five minutes left to the break.

The sides traded scores again but two more Waterford scores injury time from Stephen Bennett and Mikey Kearney put them 0-12 to 0-5 up at the break.

That goal that never came in the opening half soon came after the break. With just two minutes elapsed in the second half, DJ Foran cut in from the wing and sent the ball crashing past Eoghan Cahill.

By the time the second half was 10 minutes old, Waterford led 1-17 to 0-5 with Stephen Bennett helping himself to four more scores as Offaly’s pain continued.

An Eoghan Cahill long range free briefly stopped the rot for Offaly but Stephen Bennett’s 12th point and a first for Mark O’Brien pushed Paraic Fanning’s charges ahead even further with 18 minutes to play.

The rout continued to the finish with Stephen Bennett really hammering home their advantage from play and from frees. Half goal chances were tapped over the bar, the likes of Mikey Kearney was taken off and rested while Offaly struggled to get out of their own half of the field.

Jack Prendergast blasted to the net four minutes from time to make it 2-27 to 0-7 while Bennett closed out the scoring with a free to end Offaly’s misery.

Scorers for Waterford: Stephen Bennett 0-16 (10fs), DJ Foran 1-3, Mikey Kearney 0-3, Jack Prendergast 1-0, Thomas Ryan 0-2, Tadhg de Burca, Shane Bennett, Kevin Moran and Mark O’Brien 0-1 each.

Scorers for Offaly: Eoghan Cahill (both frees), Aidan Treacy (0-1f and 0-1 ‘65’) and Kevin Connolly (0-1f) 0-2 each, Damien Egan 0-1.

Waterford: Billy Nolan; Shane McNulty, Shane Fives, Noel Connors; Conor Prunty, Tadhg de Burca, Kevin Moran; Mark O’Brien, Michael Walsh; DJ Foran, Brian O’Halloran, Mikey Kearney; Stephen Bennett, Thomas Ryan, Shane Bennett. Subs: Jordan Henley for Shane Fives (34m), Patrick Curran for Shane Bennett (45), Jack Prendergast for Brian O’Halloran (45), Colin Dunford for Michael Walsh (53), Stephen Roche for Mikey Kearney (55m).

Offaly: Eoghan Cahill, Thomas Spain, Niall Houlihan, Paddy Rigney; Aidan Treacy, Pat Camon, Craig Taylor; Kevin Dunne, Liam Langton; Eoghan Callaghan, Sean Dolan, Shane Kinsella; Kevin Connolly, Colm Gath, David Nally. Subs: Damien Egan for David Nally (H/T), Paddy Murphy for Eoghan Callaghan (H/T), Enda Grogan for Paddy Rigney (H/T), Joey Keenaghan for Shane Kinsella (66), Dylan Murray for Sean Dolan (66m).

Referee: Patrick Murphy (Carlow)

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