Offaly shocked Leinster GAA this weekend, beating Meath in what was described as 'one of the worst results in living memory' for the Royals.
When the full-time whistle blew in the Leinster SFC quarter-final in O'Connor Park, it was Offaly who had defied the odds with a four-point victory over Meath. The game finished 1-11 to 0-10 with Offaly's first-half blitz proving too much for Colm O'Rourke's men.
Full Time in @Glenisk O'Connor Park. Magical win. Fully committed performance by a hard working team. Well done Lads.
Up the Faithful pic.twitter.com/mJeZoUpPd7
— Official Offaly GAA (@Offaly_GAA) April 23, 2023
The seismic win was in some ways a fitting tribute to their manager Liam Kearns who tragically passed away earlier this season. Offaly now march on to a Leinster semi-final in Croke Park while Meath find themselves condemned to the Tailteann Cup for the rest of the season.
Speaking to Midlands Sport straight after the game Offaly manager Martin Murphy was emphatic about the result, praising his player's commitment and determination to defy the odds.
We came here today more in hope than anything else.
It's heart rendering stuff to believe that we're going to Croke Park next week.
Just like Offaly's shock win didn't disappoint, the Tullamore crowd didn't either, with the Faithful's finest showing just how much the result meant to them.
Massive win for @Offaly_GAA. Louth and Croke Park next. pic.twitter.com/bTniaqoXmS
— David Hollywood (@DavidHollywood_) April 23, 2023
A couple of short videos were put together by leaving Cert student and @EdenderryGAA player @mark_forde95
The second clip with added commentary by @MidlandsSports @referee34 shows what this win meant to the players and supporters after a difficult 6 weeks. #TheFaithful pic.twitter.com/GazCU4KBei
— Official Offaly GAA (@Offaly_GAA) April 24, 2023
Things you love to see: Mick McDonagh, fists clenched, celebrating a huge Offaly win. pic.twitter.com/diV4TGYsh7
— Balls.ie (@ballsdotie) April 23, 2023
However, while Offaly were basking in the delight of a first Leinster semi-final since 2006, Meath and Colm O'Rourke could only despair.
Facing the music after the loss, it was put to O'Rourke by reporters that it was one of the most disappointing results ever and there was little disagreement.
Everything went wrong, we weren't good enough on the day, I don't make excuses, you get 70+ minutes to score more than the opposition and we didn't.
Yeah it took us to the last fifteen minutes to get the bite..and to get stuck in at that time. It was sortove a non-physical, contact game for most of the first half as far as we were concerned.
There's a lot of young players I still have confidence in.
If O'Rourkes reactions were disappointing, Meath fans certainly weren't much happier with the performance.
It’s all over in Tullamore.
One of the worst results in living memory for the Royals. pic.twitter.com/J0mPAV2fyN
— LMFM RADIO (@LMFMRADIO) April 23, 2023
I’d expect some from outside Meath to be gleeful at O’Rourke’s travails, but get the impression some within the county aren’t too displeased, which is a little sad to see.
— David Sheehan (@DavidSSport) April 23, 2023
The tweets of Meath great Joe Sheridan were instructive of the mood in the county.
At halftime of the game, Sheridan called it the 'worst half of football ever played.'
That’s definitely the worst half of football I’ve ever witnessed. No shape, no structure, no hunger. Body language terrible. 6 players with little or no league time and expected to come in and be sharp. Madness
— Joe sheridan (@Squarecut84) April 23, 2023
Today he tried to make sense of the result after the emotions had cooled.
Yesterdays result is still hard to work out! We have put the underage structures in place to have had 2 successful minor teams over the last number of years. We have wonderful financial backing to help us achieve success and are envious of most counties on that front. 1/2
— Joe sheridan (@Squarecut84) April 24, 2023
We have the management team and backroom staff in place that the county wanted and I have no doubt we have 40 players in Meath to be very competitive in an All-Ireland series. So it’s very hard to explain yesterdays performance especially the first half. 2/2
— Joe sheridan (@Squarecut84) April 24, 2023
It took Meath 22 minutes to get on their scoreboard with the Royals only managing to put two over the bar in the entirety of the first half. They're now left to play in the competition O'Rourke says 'nobody wants to play in'
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