Saturday 24 August 2019

Kelly out to 'turn around' Faithful fortunes

Offaly manager Joachim Kelly. Photo: Barry Cregg/Sportsfile
Offaly manager Joachim Kelly. Photo: Barry Cregg/Sportsfile

Joachim Kelly knows he has a mammoth task on his hands to raise Offaly's spirits and avoid relegation to hurling's third tier after taking over as interim manager.

Faithful legend Kelly replaced Kevin Martin in the Offaly hot seat following their 13-point Joe McDonagh Cup loss to Westmeath and insists they must "do our utmost to lift things and turn it around".

Kelly lamented players "throwing in the towel in the last few weeks", but has no interest in playing the blame game with the much-criticised Offaly County Board, as survival is the only thing on his mind.

"Their heads were down last Monday when I went in to them. We trained for the first time on Tuesday and I said 'lads, the only way is up, we're at the bottom of the rung and the only way we can go is up'," Kelly told Midlands Sport.

"For the last few months Offaly supporters have walked out on games they have been playing in and some supporters I met said they'd never follow us again and that's a shocking thing.

"I'm trying to restore a bit of pride back into the team, heart and spirit for the Offaly jersey. If I get a month and keep them up in the Joe McDonagh then that's my job done.

"We said we'd work on two things, their heads and their belief. They were fairly down, you could see in the dressing room that their heads were down and we're going to work on that and we're going to get a ferocious spirit back into the Offaly jersey."

Offaly host Antrim this Saturday as they bid to save their season, while Kerry's surprise defeat of Westmeath leaves the Faithful with an outside chance of reaching the final should results go their way.

GAA Newsletter

Expert GAA analysis straight to your inbox.

Irish Independent

The Throw-In: Tipp throw off the shackles while Kilkenny’s soul-searching begins

In association with Bord Gáis Energy

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport