Friday 15 December 2017

Dooley could extend Offaly reign after spirited effort against Cork

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Joe Dooley is to make a decision within days about his future as Offaly manager.

It was expected that Dooley, whose term is complete, would step away after what has developed into a somewhat fractious relationship with the Offaly County Board.

But the performance in Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Saturday against Cork in running the home side to just a point, considering the list of injuries they had, may prompt a rethink on the manager's behalf.

Dooley has been manager of Offaly for the last four years and opinion in the county is divided as to what he has achieved.

The performances against Dublin and the Rebels in the championship were heartening, but relegation to Division 2 in April was a backward step.

Last year the team forced Galway to a replay in the Leinster semi-final but subsequently lost heavily in the qualifiers to Tipperary.

Dooley gave no indication about his future after the Cork game and Offaly spokesman Niall Murphy suggested he will take a few days before making his intentions known.

Dooley's relationship with the county board is known to have deteriorated over the last 12 months.

Earlier this month, the stand-off over training at O'Connor Park was crystalised by a letter to clubs which Dooley, his selectors, team captain and the hurling secretary were signatories to as they outlined their opposition to training at the county ground in future. The board could still opt to look for a new direction, even if Dooley decides to make himself available again.

The man who guided Ballyboden St Enda's to the last four Dublin titles, Liam Hogan, is a native of Coolderry and would be well received in the county.

Aidan Fogarty may also be interested in heading up a new team after missing out in 2007 when Dooley was appointed, while Francis Forde, the former Galway hurler, has won admirers within the Offaly squad for his coaching over the last few years and may be a contender if a vacancy arises.

If Dooley was to stay on for another year he would become the county's longest-serving manager since Diarmuid Healy in the 1980s.

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