Sunday 16 June 2019

Offaly move to replace Stephen Wallace as Paul Rouse heads up 'interim management team'

Suspended Offaly manager Stephen Wallace was relieved of his duties by the Offaly board last Wednesday. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile
Suspended Offaly manager Stephen Wallace was relieved of his duties by the Offaly board last Wednesday. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Offaly have moved quickly to replace Stephen Wallace after appointing an interim management team that will be headed up by Paul Rouse.

Wallace was sacked by the county board on Wednesday amid rumours of rifts in the camp following a defeat against Wicklow in the Leinster SFC championship last weekend.

In an announcement late on Friday evening, confirmation of the new management set up was confirmed:

"Following a recommendation from a Committee comprising of Tommy Byrne (Chairman Offaly County Board), Pauric Pierce (Vice Chairman Offaly County Board) and Vinny Claffey an Interim Management Team has been appointed to take charge of the Offaly Senior Football Team for the remainder of the 2018 Championship," read the statement.

"The Interim Management Team will be led by Paul Rouse, and will also consist of Stephen Darby, John Rouse and Alan McNamee. The Interim Management Team and players will have the full support of the Coiste Bainisti Uibh Fhailí in their preparations for the first round of the All-Ireland Qualifiers on 9th June."

Wallace is currently serving an eight-week suspension arising from an incident that took place late in the Castleisland Co-Op Mart intermediate club championship game between John Mitchels and Ardfert at the Austin Stack Park on Saturday, March 31.

The suspension came into effect last week when the ban was upheld by the Kerry Hearing's Committee and Wallace's appeal against the decision of the hearing committee was dismissed last weekend before he was removed from his post a few days later.

"It makes no logical sense to me," said at irate Wallace earlier this week. "Is it because we lost a football game to Wicklow? If it is, we’re turning into the Premiership. You lose a game as a soccer manager and you’re looking over your shoulder. Is that what we’ve become?

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"I’ve only been suspended for two weeks because there was a long ongoing process with the Kerry County Board. Up until very recently I was able to prepare this team as per normal.

"I’m not the first GAA official to be suspended and I certainly won’t be the last. Is it an ideal scenario? Of course it’s not but if every player or manager who has a misdemeanour is going to be cast aside, we’ll have no-one left playing.

"I can only assume it’s all this media nonsense that has gone on all week. Most of it has been proven unfounded and untrue.

"This is a county board that has put roadblocks in our way every second of every day.

"It’s the players I feel sorry for. They’re a great bunch of lads and very committed. It’s just total nonsense for these guys to be at the mercy of this type of an executive."

Rouse, 47, a two-time Offaly County Championship winner with Tullamore, will be tasked with reviving Offaly's fortunes after the players had issued a united statement calling for Wallace to be allowed to continue.

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