McNamee threatens to quit Faithful
Offaly's marquee forward Niall McNamee could withdraw his playing services in 2012 over the manner in which the county board has set about finding a replacement for Tom Cribbin.
An angry McNamee, one of the top forwards in Leinster, has hit out at the delay in finding a new Offaly football manager just a day after Tom Coffey pulled out of the race.
Coffey has been McNamee's Rhode manager for the last four years, but the player is adamant that Coffey's withdrawal and their obvious link has not influenced his frustration.
"Naturally, I'd love to have seen Tom Coffey as the next Offaly manager, but I'd have been happy too if Stephen Darby, another former Rhode manager, was appointed or even Jack Sheedy," he said.
"These were the three men who showed interest and were part of the process, so surely one of them should have been appointed by now.
"But it has dragged on and on and I can understand Tom Coffey's frustration at it, because I feel the same and I know a few other players do too. There's a feeling that Offaly is just being left behind."
The seven-man appointments committee set up to find a successor for Cribbin was due to meet last night, with the possibility of a name being recommended.
There is speculation that two of the original three candidates who remain in the race may be bypassed for a third candidate who has entered the race late in the day.
County board officials are not disclosing who that third candidate is but Peter Brady, who played for Offaly in the 1990s and only last weekend managed Edenderry to the Offaly title, may now be in the reckoning.
For McNamee, the whole process has been far too slow and has left him weighing up his options for 2012.
"Right now I honestly don't feel like I will be playing for Offaly with the county board the way it is. It's been a most unprofessional process that has dragged on far too long.
"I know a few Kildare players and they are already up and running doing gym work and looking ahead to 2012. The Donegal players started the same training last September when Jim McGuinness came in. He was appointed in July.
"Tom Cribbin stepped down in late July. By then this committee had already been set up to find a manager. And three months later, up to yesterday afternoon, they still hadn't found one. I wouldn't be surprised if they went ahead and put a name forward (last night) because the pressure is on. But why so late?" asked McNamee.
"We've been out of the championship more than three months now. They've had candidates with brilliant CVs.
"Tom Coffey has got Offaly teams to five Leinster finals in recent years and he had put a really good team together; Stephen Darby won three Offaly titles with Rhode. Jack Sheedy had success with Moorefield. Kildare appointed Kieran McGeeney on a lot less."
Coffey cited the delay in the process as the main reason for his withdrawal and claimed, like McNamee, that the process had become far too "unprofessional".
He stepped down as Rhode manager last month after they had lost an Offaly semi-final. He had made it known to the county board from an early stage that he was an interested candidate if a vacancy was to arise.
"Meetings have been called off because fellas have been away. I know they are volunteers, but why go on a committee if you are not prepared to commit to it?" said McNamee.
"Then they apparently wanted to wait until the Offaly semi-finals were completed before making any announcement because of Tom's involvement with Rhode.
"Stephen Darby's involvement with Carbury in the Kildare final held it up further apparently. But Pat Flanagan was confirmed as Westmeath manager weeks before Clara played in last year's Offaly final and there wasn't a problem.
"Look at the situation in Cork this year. Denis Walsh announced he wasn't going forward on a Monday and Jimmy Barry-Murphy was appointed on a Thursday. We can't complete it in three months."
Roscommon and Fermanagh are the only other football counties who have yet to fill a vacancy as Fergal O'Donnell and John O'Neill both only stepped down in the past week.
Pat Gilroy's future with Dublin is still not cleared up but a decision is expected soon.