Blow for Martin as players opt out for 2019
Offaly's bid to bounce back to the top tier of inter-county hurling has been dealt a blow with the news that a number of players from the Shinrone club have opted against throwing their lot in with the panel in 2019, writes Donnchadh Boyle.
Dan and Conor Doughan along with Adrian, Sean and Michael Cleary have all been part of the panel in recent seasons but they will not be available to Kevin Martin for the new season.
Martin was already dealt a blow with the news that veteran dual star Sean Ryan won't play inter-county next year after opting to hang up his hurl.
Offaly are looking to bounce back to the Leinster Championship after losing their status when going down to Dublin by 17 points in Parnell Park back in June.
They start their Joe McDonagh Cup campaign with a clash against neighbours Laois before taking on Westmeath, Antrim and Kerry.
The top two teams from the five-team group will contest the Joe McDonagh Cup final which will again will be played as a curtain-raiser to the 2019 Leinster final in Croke Park, and the winner will be promoted to the Leinster Championship in 2020.
Both finalists will also move into a Liam MacCarthy Cup qualifier.