Offaly were crowned Leinster Minor Hurling Champion for the first time since 2000 after they defeated Laois in front of a record crowd of 12,000 in Portlaoise.
The neighboring counties met for the first time in the Leinster Playoff after, despite being placed in the second division of the Championship in the group stage, they defied all odds to reach the finals.
Offaly gained the upper hand early on with man of the match Cillian Martin, Ter Guinan and ace shooter Adam Screeney all producing superb results and the Faithful County narrowly leading 9-0, 7-0 at half-time.
With the wind at their backs in the second half, Leo O’Connor’s charges landed some great goals from distance, with captain Dan Ravenhill leading by example.
Offaly started to pull away but Laois brought it back to a three-point game with 15 minutes to go. However, Offaly showed his class again as Screeney, Ravenhill and Cathal Robinson all found the target to put them 18-0-12 up with ten minutes to go.
While Laois was looking for goals, Offaly’s rearguard were in no mood to cough up green flags, adding three more points in the closing stages.
While Offaly marches into an All-Ireland semi-final, Laois find themselves in an All-Ireland qualifier group where they meet Galway and Munster runners-up Clare.
Goalscorers – Offaly: A Screeney 0-10 (9f); D Raven Hill 0-3; S Rigney 0-2; T Guinan, C Martin, L Kavanagh, D Shirley, C Doyle, C Robinson 0-1 each. Laois: B. Deegan 0-10 (7w, 1s/l); J Quinlan, J Breen, C Byrne each 0-1.
By-products: L Hoare; C Larkin, J Mahon, R Kelly; Shirley D, Kavanagh B, Guinan T; L Kavanagh, C Martin; S Rigney, D Ravenhill, C Doyle; C Robinson, N Furlong, A Screeney. Subtitle: P. Dooley for Guinan (29, inj, reverse ht), S. Connolly for Martin (59), J. Liffey for Doyle (60)
Laois: B O’Reilly; B Murphy, C Flynn, J Pearson; T Brennan, T Cuddy, C Hogan; A McDonagh, K Byrne; B Deegan, L Kirby, J Breen; E Cuddy, J Quinlan, C Byrne. Subtitle: A Carroll for Kirby (36), E Murphy for McDonagh (36), R Kelly for E Cuddy (50), J Duggan for Breen (59).
Referee: C. Flynn (Westmeath).
https://www.independent.ie/sport/gaelic-games/u-20-hurling/offaly-bridge-22-year-gap-to-claim-leinster-minor-hurling-championship-41656228.html Offaly bridges the 22-year gap to win the Leinster Minor Hurling Championship