Wednesday 17 January 2018

Big ball... small ball: How much further can the Faithful county fall?

Brian Carroll of Offaly. Photo: Sportsfile
Brian Carroll of Offaly. Photo: Sportsfile

independent.ie Sportsdesk

Something is certainly rotten in the state of Offaly.

There's rarely smoke without fire but recent GAA activities in the Faithful county suggest that there's an inferno blazing. Amid the shameful treatment of Pat Flanagan, who learned of his departure as Offaly senior football boss last week via Twitter, another storm cloud exploded.

Carlow manager Turlough O'Brien. Photo: Sportsfile
Carlow manager Turlough O'Brien. Photo: Sportsfile

After claiming four All-Ireland SHC titles from 1981 to 1998, Offaly's fall from hurling's top table has been well documented but hopes were high that improved underage structures in the county would help to halt the disastrous slide.

The Offaly Hurling Review Committee was formed three years ago to stem the bleeding but Diarmuid Healy, who was at the heart of their 1980s breakthrough, quit in frustration.

Former Ballyboden St Enda's boss Liam Hogan remained to spearhead the Offaly Hurling Pathway but after three years trying to lead the county forward, Hogan and director of hurling Brian Carroll (pictured) tendered their resignation late last week, citing a lack of co-operation and transparency from county board officials.

It's yet another setback and if Offaly don't get their house in order, they risk falling off the face of the GAA world.

The GPA today launched a new three year strategic plan for the organisation which will focus on enhancing player representation and investing in the personal development of the intercounty players over the next three years. In attendance at the GPA Strategic Plan launch is Dermot Earley, CEO of the GPA, at the GPA in Santry, Dublin. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
The GPA today launched a new three year strategic plan for the organisation which will focus on enhancing player representation and investing in the personal development of the intercounty players over the next three years. In attendance at the GPA Strategic Plan launch is Dermot Earley, CEO of the GPA, at the GPA in Santry, Dublin. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Minnows moving with times

After Dublin and Tipperary reigned supreme last September there was much debate about the size of their backroom teams and how the numbers game was separating the leaders from the chasing pack.

Both had excess of 20 personnel involved in the preparation and planning of their senior county squad but a tweet from Carlow football boss Turlough O'Brien (left) on Wednesday confirmed the gap is not as wide as often reported. Ahead of tomorrow's qualifier with Monaghan, O'Brien thanked his 17 little helpers ranging from selectors, coaches, S&C, physios, sports psychologist, video analysts, kit men and a liaison officer and nutritionist.

Times have changed but most counties have moved with it.

GAA fans will unite to honour tragic death

Dublin and Kildare fans will put rivalries aside and unite in a minute's applause during Sunday's Leinster SFC final in memory of Bradley Lowery, the six-year-old who lost his brave battle with cancer last week.  Bradley's plight touched the hearts of sports fans all across the globe after he became close friends with England soccer international Jermain Defoe and it is intended that this show of togetherness will recognise all children currently battling the illness. Elsewhere, the eagerly-anticipated build-up starts early today (8-9.30) with Club Kildare's breakfast morning in the Osprey Hotel, Naas as Lilies legend Dermot Earley (right) and former Dublin All-Ireland winner Paul Curran share thoughts on the Croke Park showdown.

Official in van to help avoid LGFA scoring controversy

The LGFA have taken a giant step into the future by introducing video footage to assist referees as they assess scoring incidents in all televised games.  An official, the scores assistant, will sit in the TG4 production vans where they will have the benefit of all available television angles to help judge if a score has taken place.  This technological development comes after last year's controversial All-Ireland senior ladies football final where Cork defeated Dublin by a point despite the Jackies having had a legitimate Carla Rowe score ruled out. There were widespread calls for HawkEye to be in use for such occasions but the point-detection technology will be used this year when available.

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