Interim boss Coffey has long-term ambitions for Offaly football post

Conor McKeon

NEWLY appointed interim Offaly football manager, Tom Coffey, insists he views the job in the long-term rather than its current temporary frame of reference.

The former Rhode boss was widely tipped for the post last year but withdrew from the race to replace Tom Cribben due to the length of time being taken by the county board in making a final decision.

Last Sunday, however, he was given the job until the end of the season following ratification at an emergency meeting of the Offaly executive and Coffey hinted he is likely to seek a permanent appointment at the end of the season.

"Initially I went for this job six months ago," Coffey told the Evening Herald.

"My plan at that stage was a three-year plan which took in under-21 and senior. That hasn't changed.

Coffey will meet the Offaly players -- who have been training under the guidance of injured star forward, Niall McNamee -- for the first time tonight and he reckons they aren't solely to blame for their relegation disappointment this year.

"They're as genuine as any players in the country," he insisted.

"Maybe there was an inconsistency of the training schedules, maybe there were problems.


"It just appeared that there weren't really ground rules laid down. If there are ground rules put in place, there is plenty of talent in the county.

"It will take a bit of time but there is no question that they have trained as hard in recent years as any other team but it just didn't happen for them on the field.

"There are plenty of genuine lads around and plenty of talent. It's just a matter of organising them.

"It's a GAA county and there is plenty of goodwill and they would love to see some success."

A former minor and Under 21 manager with Offaly, Coffey knows the local scene better than most but he faces the toughest of competitive openers when the Faithful County go to Portlaoise to take on Kildare on Saturday, June 16.

"I would be very familiar with the players and I would be very up to speed with what was going on," he explained.


"The post arrived out of nowhere. I got a phone call and I said I needed a day or two to think about it so I made the decision.

"It just means you would be very familiar with the players who are around.

"The fitness levels and conditioning levels and gameplan and getting a settled team, that would be the thing you would have to question what stage are they at.

Speaking about their Leinster opponents, Coffey added: "Kildare are in the top four teams in the country so I don't think there would be big expectations within the county.

"It's about getting a system in place where everyone is doing the same thing and try and get a bit of ground work done, basically."