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Liam Kearns set to take Offaly football reins


Liam Kearns. Photo by: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Liam Kearns. Photo by: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Liam Kearns. Photo by: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Liam Kearns has emerged as the frontrunner to take over from John Maughan as Offaly football manager.

Kearns is a highly experienced manager, having taken charge of Limerick, Laois and Tipperary in the past. While with Tipperary, they reached an All-Ireland semi-final in 2016. He has also been coach to Roscommon when John Evans was in charge for a brief period in 2015.

Offaly are due to make a final decision tomorrow night but Kearns, it seems, is favourite for the role. He has been involved with Roscommon club Clann na nGael in recent seasons.

Initially it looked like Tomás Ó Sé, a coach under Maughan this year, would take over from the Mayo man who was four years in charge but a change in work circumstances has apparently ruled him out of contention.

Offaly were All-Ireland U-20 champions in 2021 and were somewhat unlucky to be relegated from Division 2 earlier this year.

They had a poor Leinster Championship with defeat to Wexford and lost a Tailteann Cup semi-final to Westmeath in June.

Meanwhile Down have appointed Conor Laverty as their manager, taking over from James McCartan who stepped down after just one year in charge.

Laverty had been linked to the position last November with Jim McGuinness being floated as a potential coach along with Martin Clarke but when that became public any potential agreement was scuppered and Laverty withdrew interest. McCartan stepped in at that stage but they had a poor Division 2 league and subsequent Ulster Championship and Tailteann Cup.

This time he will have Martin Clarke on board again while Declan Morgan, who was also a coach to Laverty when he was manager of the Down U-20 team that won last year’s Ulster title, will also be involved.

Laverty won an All-Ireland club title with Kilcoo in February but there has been poor buy-in from Kilcoo players in recent years as they focused more on club success. Laverty’s appointment may help to bridge any gaps there are on that front.

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Meanwhile, Ferns manager Pat Bennett has raised his concern about player welfare given the rapid-fire nature of the Wexford SHC.

Bennett watched his side book their county final place with an epic extra-time victory over defending champions Rapparees on Sunday, but they will have little time to prepare for their date with St Martin’s in five days.

In a video shared online by Wexford GAA, the current Kerry selector questions the need for such a condensed hurling calendar in the sunny south-east and the “manic” schedule which players are being put through.

“We’re going to recover tonight and recover tomorrow night, it’s all about recovery. This is game eight coming in seven-and-a-half weeks; to me, it’s manic stuff,” Bennett said.

“You’re asking these club players to play ... the inter-county guys if you go three weeks in a row they give out, we’re going into game eight in seven-and-a-half weeks, you’ve no time for injuries. You’re playing on injuries, You’re talking about player welfare, I don’t see it actually, I just don’t see it.”

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