Friday 31 October 2014

Offaly legend Brian Whelahan to take Faithful hurling reins

Published 24/10/2013 | 01:00

Brian Whelahan
James Horan
James Horan

Offaly legend Brian Whelahan is set to become the county's new hurling manager.

Whelahan, who won All-Ireland titles with the county in 1994 and 1998, will succeed Ollie Baker, who stepped down in August after two years in charge.

The Birr clubman is being recommended by a selection committee fronted by Offaly County Board chairman Padraig Boland.

The former Hurler of the Year's appointment will be ratified at the November meeting of the Offaly County Board.

Whelahan – who was the only hurler of his generation on the Team of the Millennium – was originally in the frame for the minor manager's job but in recent weeks progressed to being a front-runner for the senior job.

Offaly open their Leinster championship campaign with a daunting away trip to Kilkenny.

Meanwhile, James Horan will be at the helm of the Mayo footballers next season after a "very productive" meeting with the county's top brass last night.

However, James Nallen won't be part of the management team as he steps down having served as a selector for two years.

Speculation on whether Horan would continue for a fourth season has been rife since the county's one-point defeat in the All-Ireland final.

But in a statement, Horan described the conjecture on whether he would be Mayo manager in 2014 as "pure nonsense" after a second meeting with officials in eight days.

"Nothing has changed, the ambition of this squad is to win an All-Ireland and that is an ambition that drives us all," Horan said.

Horan (right) also paid tribute to Nallen for his contribution and revealed the search for a selector to join Tom Prendergast has already begun.

"It'll be a real shame not to have James with us next year, he's been an inspirational figure to the players and, having played 132 competitive games for Mayo, his experience was something we could always turn to," Horan said.

"Replacing a real legend in Mayo football won't be easy. I've met a few people but it's too early to announce anything."

Elsewhere, new Cork football manager Brian Cuthbert has turned to members of the Rebels' side that lost the 1999 All-Ireland final to make up his back-room team.

Ronan McCarthy, Ciaran O'Sullivan, Owen Sexton and Don Davis are all set to serve as selectors next year.

McCarthy's inclusion ensures some continuity as he acted as a selector under Conor Counihan last year.

Urhan man O'Sullivan won an All Star in 1999 while Sexton was part of the 1993 All-Ireland minor-winning side that Cuthbert skippered. Don Davis of the O'Donovan Rossa club won an All-Ireland club title in 1993 and is a brother of double celtic cross winner Tony.

Irish Independent

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