OFFALY will shortly begin the search for a new senior hurling manager after Brian Whelahan decided to step down, writes Conor McKeon.
The double All-Ireland winner (above) opted not to seek a third year at the helm, a decision that was relayed to delegates at a county board meeting in Tullamore last night.
Whelahan's term did not force the upturn in Offaly's fortunes many had envisaged after the Birr club man took over from Ollie Baker prior to the start of the 2014 season.
The Faithful lost four Championship matches during his reign, beating only Antrim, and failed to challenge for promotion from DIvision 1B.
Last year, Offaly avoided relegation to Division 2A only after beating Kerry in a play-off, before suffering big Championship defeats to Kilkenny (26 points) and Tipperary (17 points).
This season, they suffered their first Championship defeat to Laois in 43 years before exiting to Clare on a 20-point margin and will, as a consequence of the former, begin next summer in the Leinster qualifying group.
Meanwhile, Davy Fitzgerald will return as Clare senior hurling boss next year, as will Colm Collins, the Banner's football manager.
Fitzgerald agreed a new three-year term after the 2013 All-Ireland win.