'Expectation and flak add to pressure on Offaly'
Even from the relative safety of his north Tipperary base, Eamonn Kelly is aware of the flak flying across in Offaly since the weekend's humiliating Leinster SHC round-robin defeat to Westmeath.
The steady erosion of Offaly as a hurling power appeared to reach a new plateau with a double-scores loss to their fellow midlanders, and manager Kelly knows there has been strong criticism.
"I'm well able to gauge it from where I am," said the Kildangan native. "There is certainly a lot of it, a lot of expectation which brings its own pressures as well."
Kelly says he is at a loss to understand why Offaly are not performing.
"There is a lot of frustration. We are doing it on the training pitch but we are not implementing it on the day of a match," he said.
"In some ways it's a good thing that we have a short turnaround (they play Carlow on Saturday), we don't have to be dwelling too much on last week.
Kelly said at yesterday's Leinster Chmpionships launch that he was preparing to take a considered approach to a squad gathering last night.
"There is no point in shouting or roaring or rallying the troops. It's about sitting down and having an honest look."
Kelly admits there is a new reality for Offaly hurling that is far removed from the status that most observers afford them.
"Status and tradition in the game is fine and fantastic teams won All-Irelands in the '80s and '90s but that came on the back of winning minor and U-21 All-Irelands," he said.
"The success hasn't been there the last number of years at those levels, although they have been doing fantastic work at the minute.
"What's realistic or unthinkable, I'm not sure. All I know is we have a group of players who are not playing to their potential."