Tuesday 28 January 2020

Veteran Bergin 'on the fence' over future with Faithful

Joe Bergin of Offaly. Photo: Sportsfile
Joe Bergin of Offaly. Photo: Sportsfile

Daragh Small

Long-serving Offaly hurler Joe Bergin will have talks with management over the coming weeks as he decides on his inter-county future.

The 32-year-old Seir Kieran forward has been part of the Faithful set-up for 13 years and would like to work under new manager Mick Fennelly.

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But three weeks after Bergin scored 1-6 in his club's Leinster intermediate final defeat to Kilkenny's Tullaroan, he hasn't returned to training yet.

Offaly have already secured back-to-back wins in the Kehoe Cup but Bergin's return has been put on hold after his wife Lorraine gave birth to baby Tom last Friday.

And as Offaly prepare to regroup in 2020, with Christy Ring Cup hurling around the corner, Bergin isn't certain about his future.

"I'm on the fence but I hope to be back," said Bergin. "I am not training because we only finished three weeks ago with the club. My wife had a baby and I haven't done any training since. I'd say I am not too far away but I will make up my mind, go or not."

Fresh The 1998 All-Ireland champions will operate in Division 2A of the National League in 2020. But Fennelly, an eight-time All-Ireland winner with Kilkenny, has come on-board and Bergin knows it could bring a massive change in fortunes.

"It's fresh and exciting," said Bergin. "Michael is an iconic figure. In that great Kilkenny team he was the powerhouse in midfield.

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"From a managerial point of view, he is very young but when you look at where he has played, and the managers he would have worked with, the likes of Brian Cody. Himself, Eddie Brennan and Henry Shefflin come from a good school."

After an abysmal 2019, Bergin said that with Borris-Ileigh's victorious manager Johnny Kelly joining forces with Michael Kavanagh and David Kenny in Offaly's new-look backroom team, it has also been a boost.

"Johnny Kelly is a huge appointment as coach. He has a very good record with club teams," said Bergin. "I was delighted to see our own David Kenny throwing his hat into the ring as selector. David was a great hurler. He would know everyone in Offaly and be well-regarded. Michael Kavanagh was a great hurler with Kilkenny as well."

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