Of course that only applies for those who have caught the Faithful hurlers live at Croke or O'Moore Park, or who have tackled the capricious delights of the feed over the inter web: Offaly haven't been on telly so far, the clash of the titans that included Limerick being far more attractive to TV3. Lets hope they don't end up being like one of the those summer hits that is forgotten as autumn's bite draws in. A little further searching test against a revitalised Tipp likely awaits them the weekend after next. Still kudos to Joe Dooley whose teasing tenure over his county is once again on the upward curve. Tipperary, with their current defensive uncertainty, are. like Galway, a side that Offaly may match up well against. Although it could look like being very wise after the event, if Galway's successful league campaign was to be taken at face value ( as it was by the media ) it included Offaly giving them their full of it in Salthill. The Faithful have skillful mobile forwards, who do though struggle against unstinting physical back lines like Kilkenny and even Cork. Being hyper critical it is frustrating that you aren't quite sure what the likes of Joe Bergin and Derek Molloy ( when fit ) will do from one day to the next. The same is somewhat true of Shane Dooley but he, already in his short career, operates at a higher level to the aforementioned. It was also noteworthy that Brian Carroll, in the replay, produced the type of display he's been threatening since he burst onto the scene in the classic All-Ireland Colleges final in 1999. Ditto Rory Hannify, who has perhaps suffered in recent years from having to be a leader rather than a follower, was lionharted in both matches. The pleasant surprises extended to the defence. James Rigney looked an unprepossessing midfielder two summers ago, but now he and newcomer Derek Morkan are identikit, mobile, tigerish wing backs. If there is a qualm in the case for the defence it is that it isn't possible to clone David Kenny, so that he can play full and centre back. Kenny is a versatile sort, Nicky English's comparison to Kevin Kinihan doesn't ring quite true in that the full back of yore likely couldn't have started a Fitzgibbon Cup final at corner forward. Kenny and his full back line compatriots David Franks and newbie Stephen Egan all had to go off injured in the reply in Portlaoise. If Offaly avoid further injury another stout display against Tipperary will, all patronising aside, result in a successful season.
p.s this column is aware that Offaly have an outing with Limerick next Saturday.