'Self-pity will get them nowhere' - Ger Loughnane criticises 'PR campaign' against Offaly's relegation to the Joe McDonagh Cup
Former All-Ireland winning manager Ger Loughnane has accused critics of the relegation from the Leinster hurling championship of being a part of a 'PR campaign'.
Offaly's demotion to the Joe McDonagh Cup was confirmed by yesterday's 2-24 to 0-13 defeat to Dublin at Parnell Park.
Kevin Martin's men suffered their fourth defeat in four weeks and finish bottom of the Leinster table with a points difference of -62.
Much has been made of the fact that the Faithful county had to play their games on four consecutive weekends and that there is no relegation from the Munster championship but Loughnane feels it could be a blessing in disguise for Martin's side and they should embrace the move to the second tier.
"The perception they're making progress does not stand up to any kind of scrutiny, especially in the Championship," he told The Sunday Game on RTE.
"They'll be playing as many matches in the Joe McDonagh Cup as they're playing now. They're now finished for the whole year, it's over for eight months. If they were in the Joe McDonagh Cup they'd be playing again next Sunday, they'd be playing on 1 July in Croke Park before the Leinster final in the Joe McDonagh Cup final.
"If they won that, if they're as good as they think they are, they'd be back in the MacCarthy Cup next year. The week later they'd play in a preliminary quarter-final.
"Isn't that a recipe for building a young team?
"If their conditioning isn't good, here's the chance. You have a year and if you're good enough in a year's time you'll be back.
"This is a blessing for Offaly if they treat it as such. Self pity will get them nowhere."
The former Clare and Galway boss took aim at those who have called for Leinster to be made a six-team competition and for Offaly to be spared relegation.
"I think there is a bit of a PR campaign going on and it's very disrespectful to the people in the Joe McDonagh Cup," he added.
"It is the best system we've ever had because you are playing against teams of your own standard and you are rewarded if you put in the effort.
"That is Offaly's standard and it has proven to be Offaly's standard.
"They need to develop forwards because their best forwards are getting old. This is a blessing for Offaly if they treat it as such."