Offaly U-20 hurling manager Leo O’Connor insists that the Faithful are going to give it “one hell of a go” when they face Munster champions Cork in next week’s All-Ireland final in Semple Stadium.
There were joyous scenes as a 14-man Offaly overcame Wexford in last week’s Leinster decider in Dr Cullen Park and O’Connor, a former Limerick senior hurler who played against the county he now manages in the 1994 All-Ireland SHC final, says it is “an absolute pleasure” to be involved with a special group.
O’Connor first saw the likes of Adam Screeney in 2018 when they were playing Limerick in an U-14 challenge game and he has been on “a positive roller-coaster” since taking over the Offaly minor hurlers a year later.
O’Connor praised the Offaly county board – led by former Faithful star Michael Duignan – for “really stepping up to the mark” to assist the progress of the U-20s and he cannot wait for the clash against the Rebels on Sunday week.
“The experience that they are after getting out of these nights and the Offaly following is a life lesson for them, not alone in terms of GAA lessons but life lessons that they are all maturing that extra bit as well,” O’Connor told OurGame this week.
“We’ll give Sunday week one hell of a go. It’s going to be some occasion with the minor and U-20 All-Ireland together on the one day. Maybe is that the way to go in future?
“The uniqueness of the whole thing and give these young players their day in the sun down in Thurles. The Offaly crowd will be there baying for blood and particularly that we end up playing Cork.
“Offaly are back in the big time at underage level. We’ve played the biggest of them and the best of them. This opportunity has become available to us and it’s one we have to take.”
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