It was only at the start of January that Offaly put Dublin to the sword in their opening Allianz League Division 1B fixtureÂ but a lot of water has passed under the bridge since.Â
New Dubs manager Pat Gilroy sent out an inexperienced side and Offaly, in their first league game under Kevin Martin, were full value for a 13-point win at Croke Park.Â
That win set the Faithful County up for a decent league campaign that ended with a narrow loss to Kilkenny in the quarter-finals.Â
In turn, the opening two games of the Leinster Championship, against Galway and the Cats, seemed to suggest that some of the building blocksÂ were in place to get the four-time All-Ireland champions back on a competitive footing on a regular basis.Â
Then came last Saturday and a horrible 24-point defeat to Wexford.Â
If the charge was that Offaly threw the game then the prosecution could have produced video evidence to back up their case. It wasn’t pretty and the hosts never laid a finger on Davy Fitzgerald’s men.Â
But, as flagged by Martin well in advance, three games in three weeks was always a big challenge for a county like Offaly and the players just simply didn’t haveÂ the energy to keep pace with a pumped-up Wexford side.Â
“Even in the warm-up we looked a bit flat,” the manager told the Sunday Game.Â
Today’s game at Parnell Park (3pm) is now a relegation play-off with results in the Joe McDonagh Cup yesterday meaning that Kerry cannot win the competition.Â
Offaly have beaten Dublin in the opening round of the Allianz League! Hereâ€™s our GAANOW full-time highlights! pic.twitter.com/zIrj1Xnivi
â€” The GAA (@officialgaa) January 27, 2018
The manner of Offaly’s win over Dublin in January brought back fond memories for fans, who have suffered more than most in recent seasons.Â
They need to reproduce that again today so what happened on that evening in Croke Park?
“Itâ€™s hard to put your finger on it,” Offaly captain David King told RTĂ‰ Sport.Â
“We knew that performance was in us. We know that we have the hurlers and for whatever reason we just havenâ€™t got into that gear.
“That night we focused on getting that work-rate up and the performance would look after itself. We worked hard that evening and we got the result.
“It was brilliant. It was great, absolutely fantastic.
“We had focused on Dublin leading up to the league as a game weâ€™d like to be winning.
“Just to get a good performance on the day was hugely encouraging and speaking to guys after the match that would have went to watch us, and they were hugely encouraged, there was a great buzz around.”
Dublin:Â Alan Nolan; Paddy Smyth, Cian O’Callaghan, Eoghan O’Donnell; Shane Barrett, Sean Moran, Chris Crummey; Rian McBride, Jake Malone; Fiontan MacGib, Conal Keaney, Danny Sutcliffe; Fergal Whitely, Liam Rushe, Paul Ryan.
Offaly:Â Eoghan Cahill; Tom Spain, Ben Conneely, David Oâ€™Toole Greene; Sean Gardiner, Pat Camon, David King; Dan Currams, Damien Egan; Tommy Geraghty, Colin Egan, Shane Kinsella; Sean Ryan, Conor Mahon, Joe Bergin.
Follow all the football and hurling games this weekend via our live blogs on RTĂ‰.ie and the News Now App, watch exclusive television coverage of Waterford v Tipperary on RTĂ‰2 or listen to exclusive national radio commentary of all games on RTĂ‰ Radio 1. Highlights on The Sunday Game at 9.30pm on RTĂ‰2.