Monday 26 September 2016

Cyril Farrell: Offaly need less grumbling and more graft

Cyril Farrell

Published 13/06/2015 | 02:30

Laois manager Seamus 'Cheddar' Plunkett
Laois manager Seamus 'Cheddar' Plunkett

I was surprised to hear the win by Laois over Offaly described as a shock in some quarters.

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It might have been 43 years since Laois last beat Offaly in the championship but the omens were in their favour this time.

They had home advantage and, as Galway can testify after their last two visits to Portlaoise, Laois are formidable in O'Moore Park.

The 'Cheddar' Plunkett resignation-return saga was never going to be a big issue once the camp focussed on what was really important.

It was a great result for Laois, but what of Offaly? It's sad to see a county that did so well for so long slip so far down the rankings.

It's hard on Brian Whelahan to be in charge at such a difficult time but he can only deal from the cards available and, right now, they aren't good enough.

There's no easy back, but if it's to happen, it has to start at the very bottom. Offaly have lost to Laois in the last four Leinster minor championships, which shows how even the underage balance of power has changed among those neighbours.

Offaly need help externally (Leinster Council and Croke Park) and internally (improve structures and work to a plan).

Also, there are plenty former Offaly players who are happy to give out about what's going on. It might make headlines but maybe if they worked harder (with juveniles) and talked less, it would be more productive in the long run.

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