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Water Torture; GAA: IT'S SEMI-FINAL WEEKEND SHANAHAN'S THE HERO AS OFFALY FIGHTBACK FAILS.

Byline: PAUL KEANE

WATERFORD 0-21 OFFALY 1-14 MAURICE SHANAHAN hit 13 stunning points as Waterford dumped hosts Offaly out of the hurling Championship in Tullamore.

The Lismore man was a class apart, doing most to secure a Phase 1 clash with Westmeath next weekend.

Offaly had hinted at a big display after pushing Kilkenny close in the Leinster quarterfinals.

And they fought back from four down at half-time here to level terms in the second-half.

But they couldn't give the home fans what they craved and were dominated late on by both Shanahan and a superb Waterford defence. Michael 'Brick' Walsh marshalled the back-line superbly and, presuming they overcome Westmeath, they can fancy their chances in a final round qualifier.

The game, delayed because of an 8,000 plus crowd, had barely got going when there was another lengthy stoppage, for a serious injury to Offaly's Derek Molloy.

The hosts had fallen two behind after back-to-back Jake Dillon points for Waterford. But Offaly ap hDh hit back decisively with a Shane Dooley goal, Molloy picking up his injury in the build-up.

He was involved in a heavy collision with two Waterford players, but still managed to lay the ball off to Ciaran Slevin whose shot hit the post.

cpth s Dooley intercepted a loose clearance and had a simple finish into the net.

cin When play eventually restarted after Molloy was stretchered off, Dan Currams pointed to put aD Offaly 1-1 to 0-2 clear. The rest of the half was all about the scoring prowess of Shanahan though.

He closed out the half with seven points, three from frees, to haul the Deise right back into it. Michael Ryan's side eventually led 0-13 to 1-6 at half-time. Kevin Moran, Shane O'Sullivan, Paudie Prendergast and Brian O'Sullivan were also on the mark.

But the big question was how much was the wind advantage worth to them? Offaly certainly fancied their chances of reeling in the four point deficit with Joe Bergin impressing in attack.

Bergin, Brian Carroll and Ger Healion pointed to leave Offaly just 1-9 to 0-13 down.

But Shanahan's eighth point of the game, a free, settled Waterford and teed up a rip-roaring final 25 minutes.

minutes.

Offaly were back on level terms in the 47th l mKWO minute after a brilliant Kevin Brady score, but Waterford outscored Offaly by seven points to three in the closing stages. Shanahan adding six before Brian O'Sullivan hit a further three to clinch a big result.

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CAPTION(S):

HERO: Waterford's Maurice Shanahan grabbed a matchwinning 13 points

HOLD ON: Brian O'Sullivan of Waterford pulls back Offaly's Chris McDonald

BRICK WALL Waterford's Stephen O'Keefe and Walsh keep out Offaly s
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUIR
Date:Jun 23, 2013
Words:449
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