Thursday 27 June 2019

Maughan minus several Faithful regulars as Mulhall bows out

Walsh Island clubman Alan Mulhall is one of many high-profile players not in the Faithful fold. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Walsh Island clubman Alan Mulhall is one of many high-profile players not in the Faithful fold. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

John Maughan faces an uphill battle heading into his first year as Offaly senior football boss with a host of regulars unavailable for 2019 and veteran goalkeeper Alan Mulhall hanging up his boots.

Maughan has his first competitive outing as Faithful boss on Saturday against Midlands rivals Westmeath in the O'Byrne Cup where Mulhall will be a noticeable absentee after calling time on his 15-year inter-county career.

Walsh Island clubman Mulhall - who represented Offaly 88 times between league and championship - is one of many high-profile players not in the Faithful fold along with Sean Pender, Michael Brazil, Conor McNamee and James Lalor.

It had been hoped that Brian Darby - who made an unexpected U-turn on his decision to retire during Paul Rouse's interim spell in charge last summer - would stay involved but the experienced Rhode defender has also opted out.

That leaves Maughan without several big guns but the Mayo native will be keen to hit the ground running this weekend before making an assault on promotion from Division 3.

Meanwhile, Roscommon boss Anthony Cunningham has secured the services of Kerry native Conor Cox for 2019 after his transfer from the Kingdom was confirmed.

Cox was widely tipped to break into Kerry senior squad having starred for the Kingdom junior side which claimed All-Ireland glory in 2017, when he contributed 1-5 from play in their final defeat of Meath.

That never materialised under Eamonn Fitzmaurice's reign, however, and the former Listowel Emmets forward - whose father is from Roscommon - will throw his lot in with the Rossies for 2019 having also switched his club allegiances to Éire Óg.

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Elsewhere, Cork dual star Briege Corkery has committed to camogie for 2019 as she bids to add to her astonishing haul of 18 All-Ireland medals, a record she shares with team-mate Rena Buckley.

Corkery stepped away from the inter-county scene for two years - she became a mother last March - but returned to bolster Paudie Murray's squad at the latter stages of this year's championship and the 31-year-old will play an important role in their three-in-a-row bid.

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