Wednesday 17 July 2019

'Maybe we're not good enough' - Offaly gutted as Faithful county fall further into hurling abyss

Kerry's Patrick Kelly consoles Offaly's James Gorman after yesterday's Joe McDonagh Cup match at Austin Stack Park. Photo: Brendan Moran
Kerry's Patrick Kelly consoles Offaly's James Gorman after yesterday's Joe McDonagh Cup match at Austin Stack Park. Photo: Brendan Moran
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Offaly face trips to the likes of Derry, Wicklow, Roscommon and Kildare in next year's Christy Ring Cup having been sensationally relegated to hurling's third tier following their catastrophic defeat to Kerry yesterday.

Faithful legend Joachim Kelly, who took the reins following Kevin Martin's sacking a month ago, was left "gutted" having watched his charges come up short in one of the biggest games in the county's hurling history.

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The two-time All-Ireland winner was adamant that Offaly would rise again, however, and feels that they "must start again" if they want to turn around the dramatic slide in fortunes in recent seasons.

"I'm gutted for Offaly hurling that we've gone down into the third tier. We came down here to try and get a win and it's not easy to get a win in a Munster venue, and play a Munster team and against a Munster referee," Kelly said.

"Offaly needs to start again now at the bottom, we are where we are. Maybe we're not good enough and we maybe think we are and we're not good enough, but there's always hurling in Offaly.

"They're not going to fold up now just because of this defeat. Maybe it's the best place to start, the Christy Ring Cup, and get better and better and back up to the Joe McDonagh. No one died, the sun will rise again in the morning, and please God Offaly will rise again sometime soon."

Peter Geraghty's seventh-minute dismissal, combined with a first-half penalty miss by Shane Dooley, left Offaly with a mountain to climb as Shane Conway (0-11f) inspired Fintan O'Connor's Kerry to a 1-18 to 1-16 success in Tralee.

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