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What Can Be Done To Save Offaly Hurling

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watching laochra gael last night with johnny pilkington made me long for the 90s.not just because wexford were successful,but that offaly were too!
while i think hurling is in a good place in wexford,with lots of improvements on going and a road to travel yet,the same cannot be said for offaly.
is there anything that can be done for offaly?
i thought they would walk the christy ring cup last year,but they didnt.
i cant help doubt money spent on michael fennelly is money being spent well.the players just arent there at senior level.

we were at a similar low ebb in wexford a good few years ago and while we are not world beaters,we are at least competitive for the most part.former players took over every underage hurling team,coaching improved and it somewhat bore fruit in 2019 with leinster double,albeit throwing away an all ireland arguably.

what can be done?are things improving at underage?have the former players said "enough is enough" and got off the couch yet?is offaly just too small to ever be competitive again?

the whole hurling world would like offaly back,but is it possible?

perfect10 (Wexford) - Posts: 3929 - 11/02/2021 15:12:54    2331059

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Replying To perfect10:  "watching laochra gael last night with johnny pilkington made me long for the 90s.not just because wexford were successful,but that offaly were too!
while i think hurling is in a good place in wexford,with lots of improvements on going and a road to travel yet,the same cannot be said for offaly.
is there anything that can be done for offaly?
i thought they would walk the christy ring cup last year,but they didnt.
i cant help doubt money spent on michael fennelly is money being spent well.the players just arent there at senior level.

we were at a similar low ebb in wexford a good few years ago and while we are not world beaters,we are at least competitive for the most part.former players took over every underage hurling team,coaching improved and it somewhat bore fruit in 2019 with leinster double,albeit throwing away an all ireland arguably.

what can be done?are things improving at underage?have the former players said "enough is enough" and got off the couch yet?is offaly just too small to ever be competitive again?

the whole hurling world would like offaly back,but is it possible?"
I'm not aware of offalys inner workings but I think they're gone tbh. I don't think wexford were ever as bad as offaly are now were they? I'd say Laois or carlow have a better chance of developing into a hurling power than them at this stage.
The endless hammering they received at the hands of the great kilkenny team of the 2000s did nothing for their confidence but overall I just don't think they ever came round to the culture of almost professional dedication required to compete today.

Galway9801 (Galway) - Posts: 386 - 11/02/2021 20:20:30    2331112

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Not to be rude but from a weaker counties perspective, to hell with Offally hurling. In the last 10 years they refused to give teams like Meath, Westmeath, Laois challenge matches as they were holding out to play Galways 2nds or Clares 2nds(while gettinga good clipping).
They won a few all Irelands in the 90s which was a serious over achievement when you look at their resources and player pool (the 90s teams was a once in a lifetime team). They looked down their noses at the "poor" Christy Ring teams and it has come back to bite them in the ****. From being bottom of the food chain in Leinster with the big boys, they are now the 9th or 10th best team on par with Wicklow and ahead of Longford and Louth (in terms of their current level).
They neglected their youth structures and paid for it. They were arrogant against Down this year on the CR semi final and deservedly lost. There is no guarantee that next year will go there way either.
Also should their club champions still be entered into the Leinster SENIOR club hurling championship? Meath and Kildares aren't and they are a championship above Offaly?
Rant over apologies.

butterfly (Meath) - Posts: 100 - 11/02/2021 23:57:28    2331137

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Lots of opinions on Offaly hurling there.
Offaly had two teams in the 80's and 90's, who won national champions in all grades, except u21 hurling.
Those sides were mostly based in South Offaly, and a lot of them were students at Presentation Brothers in Birr, where they were coached by the great Br. Denis, a Corkman. 3 minor all Ireland's were won in the 80's, and provided the nucleus of the team who won 2 Senior All Irelands in 1994 and 1998.
I think the closure of the Birr school was a loss to Offaly hurling, Offaly schools have not generally been successful in recent years.
Neighbouring counties developed underage hurling and were ahead of Offaly for a number of years, good luck to those counties, the more the better for the good of hurling.
Hurling is also played in North Offaly, mostly around the greater Tullamore area, but the base needs to expand beyond South Offaly.
We have declined, due to the failure to develop underage hurling properly, when the county was successful. Offaly minor hurlers have qualified for the Leinster Final, so there are signs of progress, after the barren years.
In regard to Butterfly's comments that Offaly approached the Down game with the wrong attitude, like myself he wasn't there, so he has no idea that Offaly were arrogant beforehand. Down won, as Offaly didn't take their chances on the day. We will learn and approach each game this year with a determination to win. Offaly clubs reached two All Ireland Finals in the last decade. Offaly will compete in the Senior club championship for the foreseeable future.

I am confident that current Offaly hurling management can over the years make Offaly competitive again, but no game will be easy. Our current Chairperson, and Executive are committed to develop Offaly GAA in the future. All they can do is their best, with the backing of Offaly Gaels.
It is good to see progress in Kildare, Meath, and other counties, as hurling needs more teams.

MicktheMiller (Offaly) - Posts: 213 - 12/02/2021 10:51:07    2331164

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Replying To MicktheMiller:  "Lots of opinions on Offaly hurling there.
Offaly had two teams in the 80's and 90's, who won national champions in all grades, except u21 hurling.
Those sides were mostly based in South Offaly, and a lot of them were students at Presentation Brothers in Birr, where they were coached by the great Br. Denis, a Corkman. 3 minor all Ireland's were won in the 80's, and provided the nucleus of the team who won 2 Senior All Irelands in 1994 and 1998.
I think the closure of the Birr school was a loss to Offaly hurling, Offaly schools have not generally been successful in recent years.
Neighbouring counties developed underage hurling and were ahead of Offaly for a number of years, good luck to those counties, the more the better for the good of hurling.
Hurling is also played in North Offaly, mostly around the greater Tullamore area, but the base needs to expand beyond South Offaly.
We have declined, due to the failure to develop underage hurling properly, when the county was successful. Offaly minor hurlers have qualified for the Leinster Final, so there are signs of progress, after the barren years.
In regard to Butterfly's comments that Offaly approached the Down game with the wrong attitude, like myself he wasn't there, so he has no idea that Offaly were arrogant beforehand. Down won, as Offaly didn't take their chances on the day. We will learn and approach each game this year with a determination to win. Offaly clubs reached two All Ireland Finals in the last decade. Offaly will compete in the Senior club championship for the foreseeable future.

I am confident that current Offaly hurling management can over the years make Offaly competitive again, but no game will be easy. Our current Chairperson, and Executive are committed to develop Offaly GAA in the future. All they can do is their best, with the backing of Offaly Gaels.
It is good to see progress in Kildare, Meath, and other counties, as hurling needs more teams."
Good reasoned response. No reason why you cant get back to Liam McCarthy level as a county given hard work and belief. Golden generations as you had first in the 80s and then in the 90s are very rare over history. You were lucky to have 2. We probably had 2 in hurling and 1 in football. But unfortunately for us our 2nd hurling golden generation in the 70s won no all Ireland after 68 as Cork and Kilkenny were so strong during that decade. But then with good management, some great players who put in alot of hard work especially between 93 and 97, we won another in 96. And that was with a team that didnt have golden generation style success at underage.

Viking66 (Wexford) - Posts: 1439 - 12/02/2021 17:36:40    2331230

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Replying To butterfly:  "Not to be rude but from a weaker counties perspective, to hell with Offally hurling. In the last 10 years they refused to give teams like Meath, Westmeath, Laois challenge matches as they were holding out to play Galways 2nds or Clares 2nds(while gettinga good clipping).
They won a few all Irelands in the 90s which was a serious over achievement when you look at their resources and player pool (the 90s teams was a once in a lifetime team). They looked down their noses at the "poor" Christy Ring teams and it has come back to bite them in the ****. From being bottom of the food chain in Leinster with the big boys, they are now the 9th or 10th best team on par with Wicklow and ahead of Longford and Louth (in terms of their current level).
They neglected their youth structures and paid for it. They were arrogant against Down this year on the CR semi final and deservedly lost. There is no guarantee that next year will go there way either.
Also should their club champions still be entered into the Leinster SENIOR club hurling championship? Meath and Kildares aren't and they are a championship above Offaly?
Rant over apologies."
Think that's a fair enough post and doesn't warrant any apologies.
Offaly in many ways did over achieve, but that's to their credit imo. To squeeze such good teams, as well as good club teams out of a small base was brilliant, but the depths to which they have fallen over the last 2 decades is almost disgraceful.

Galway9801 (Galway) - Posts: 386 - 12/02/2021 20:04:28    2331239

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Arguably what Offaly did in the 80s and 90s is 1 of the finest achievements in GAA history given the resources available to them.

wexico15 (Wexford) - Posts: 2838 - 13/02/2021 14:59:59    2331276

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I am always amazed that there is so little discussion in hurling circles about how the all ireland championship has becoming a competition between 8 teams max. There is always talk about how uncompetitive football has become but there are more competitive teams of a good standard in football than in hurling. I think the gaa need to invest in some counties that are on peripheral of things especially in leinster, a big province with only 2-3 teams of a national standard. No offence but I don't want the all ireland to be a repeat of the Munster final every year.

wicklowsupport (Wicklow) - Posts: 1237 - 13/02/2021 20:01:42    2331297

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Replying To wicklowsupport:  "I am always amazed that there is so little discussion in hurling circles about how the all ireland championship has becoming a competition between 8 teams max. There is always talk about how uncompetitive football has become but there are more competitive teams of a good standard in football than in hurling. I think the gaa need to invest in some counties that are on peripheral of things especially in leinster, a big province with only 2-3 teams of a national standard. No offence but I don't want the all ireland to be a repeat of the Munster final every year."
I'd argue only 1 or 2 teams are capable of competing with Dublin at the moment 3 at a push, teams ranked around 8 or 9 in the country could put it up Limerick in a 1 off game where a team at stage of the football ladder wouldn't have a prayer with Dublin.

wexico15 (Wexford) - Posts: 2838 - 13/02/2021 21:10:00    2331300

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Replying To wicklowsupport:  "I am always amazed that there is so little discussion in hurling circles about how the all ireland championship has becoming a competition between 8 teams max. There is always talk about how uncompetitive football has become but there are more competitive teams of a good standard in football than in hurling. I think the gaa need to invest in some counties that are on peripheral of things especially in leinster, a big province with only 2-3 teams of a national standard. No offence but I don't want the all ireland to be a repeat of the Munster final every year."
What are you doing to promote Hurling in Wicklow? Why is it up to people in the hurling counties to promote the game elsewhere? Nothing stopping Wicklow being a hurling county if they want to and if the will is there.

ZUL10 (Clare) - Posts: 623 - 13/02/2021 22:27:25    2331312

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Replying To wicklowsupport:  "I am always amazed that there is so little discussion in hurling circles about how the all ireland championship has becoming a competition between 8 teams max. There is always talk about how uncompetitive football has become but there are more competitive teams of a good standard in football than in hurling. I think the gaa need to invest in some counties that are on peripheral of things especially in leinster, a big province with only 2-3 teams of a national standard. No offence but I don't want the all ireland to be a repeat of the Munster final every year."
The hurling championship is way more competitive than the football at the mo.
For sure more counties play football at a decent standard than hurling, but to say that Dublin will be given a tough game this year is arguably optimistic.
On the other hand there are maybe 6 counties who could win Liam without shocking anyone.

Galway9801 (Galway) - Posts: 386 - 13/02/2021 23:16:18    2331315

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Replying To wicklowsupport:  "I am always amazed that there is so little discussion in hurling circles about how the all ireland championship has becoming a competition between 8 teams max. There is always talk about how uncompetitive football has become but there are more competitive teams of a good standard in football than in hurling. I think the gaa need to invest in some counties that are on peripheral of things especially in leinster, a big province with only 2-3 teams of a national standard. No offence but I don't want the all ireland to be a repeat of the Munster final every year."
Nothing to be amazed about really because to reach the highest standard as an adult, hurling needs to practised at a very young age to get mastery of the skills. It requires a lot more financial investment than gaelic football (purchase of hurleys, helmets) to bring teams through from underage to a stage where they can compete as adults on equal terms with the successful counties. It requires genuine commitment at county board level to promote the game on an equal basis with football which will never happen in a football dominant county ( same thing of course happens to football in a hurling dominant county). While the two sports are joined at the hip hurling will always remain weak outside of its traditional basis. Personally for its own good I think hurling should have separated from football years and years ago and have its own organisation with its own separate county board because the games do not compliment each other and are actually in competition with each other. As things are, the only possibility of a non traditional hurling county making a breakthrough is if some very rich sugar daddy who loves hurling comes along and is willing to throw a number of millions towards them to invest from underage upwards for no return other than the long term hope and pleasure of seeing their county reach the top table in hurling. If I had a few million to spare I'd do it myself ( I'd probably pick Mayo or Roscommon) but I don't have the millions and I don't envisage any rich sugar daddy coming along to do it!

PoolSturgeon (Galway) - Posts: 1496 - 14/02/2021 01:34:41    2331320

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Replying To wexico15:  "I'd argue only 1 or 2 teams are capable of competing with Dublin at the moment 3 at a push, teams ranked around 8 or 9 in the country could put it up Limerick in a 1 off game where a team at stage of the football ladder wouldn't have a prayer with Dublin."
Agreed for sure. But at the same time it would be great to see Kerry, Antrim, Laois, Carlow, Westmeath, and all the lower tier counties getting more central funding to promote the game of hurling as happened in Dublin.

Viking66 (Wexford) - Posts: 1439 - 14/02/2021 02:51:46    2331321

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Replying To wexico15:  "I'd argue only 1 or 2 teams are capable of competing with Dublin at the moment 3 at a push, teams ranked around 8 or 9 in the country could put it up Limerick in a 1 off game where a team at stage of the football ladder wouldn't have a prayer with Dublin."
That's true but then again if you take Dublin out of the equation, Leinster have 10 other teams that can compete against each other plus the other 3 provinces all have competitive championships. This is not so in hurling. 4 counties in leinster can win the leinster hurling championship, what about other 8? Plus Galway had to move into leinster as there is no other county in connaught up to standard, same in Ulster. Football is said to be in a bad place especially with dublin winning everything but outside Dublin's domination, there are alot more counties at a decent level than in hurling where it is Munster, galway and three leinster team, that's it.

wicklowsupport (Wicklow) - Posts: 1237 - 14/02/2021 08:51:07    2331323

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Replying To wexico15:  "I'd argue only 1 or 2 teams are capable of competing with Dublin at the moment 3 at a push, teams ranked around 8 or 9 in the country could put it up Limerick in a 1 off game where a team at stage of the football ladder wouldn't have a prayer with Dublin."
Twelve years ago, Martin Brehony wrote an article, in which he put forward what his views were on the state of hurling in the so called 'main' hurling counties. He rated Limerick about number 10 and said, as far as I can recall, that hurling was only hanging on in the county 'in hardy outcrops'. His assessment was brutal but factual. In threads like this our side were freely called chokers, also rans and a crowd that could not win a game in Croke Park. Munster Rugby was rampant and the Gaelic Football team was competitive and indeed it appeared that hurling was slowly but surely dying in the county. However when the right people got to work that trend was slowly reversed. Goes to show what can be done.

Oldtourman (Limerick) - Posts: 2756 - 14/02/2021 10:17:10    2331325

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Replying To wicklowsupport:  "That's true but then again if you take Dublin out of the equation, Leinster have 10 other teams that can compete against each other plus the other 3 provinces all have competitive championships. This is not so in hurling. 4 counties in leinster can win the leinster hurling championship, what about other 8? Plus Galway had to move into leinster as there is no other county in connaught up to standard, same in Ulster. Football is said to be in a bad place especially with dublin winning everything but outside Dublin's domination, there are alot more counties at a decent level than in hurling where it is Munster, galway and three leinster team, that's it."
Think you are being hard on other teams in the Joe McDonagh and even Christy Ring cups. The Hurling is of a good standard in these counties and some players off these panels would make senior Liam McCarthy panels too. The main problem these counties have is playing numbers in the county as a whole. This could be improved with the right investment in schools and underage structures as happened in Dublin this millenium. Dublin, while outsiders for Liam, are well able to beat any county on their day. They have run Wexford and Kilkenny very close in championship hurling the last 3 years and beaten Galway. And are consistently good at underage level the last decade. There is no reason why with the right investment any of the next best 10 counties outside the top 9 cant do the same over time. Wexford came from a very low level in the late 30s and early 40s, where the county was considered a football county, to dominating hurling by the mid 50s.

Viking66 (Wexford) - Posts: 1439 - 14/02/2021 10:32:24    2331326

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Hurling has never been in healthier state. The top teams (arguably 9 teams) were never as competitive at the same time in the past. What missing from the past is Offaly. They are the one team who mixed it with the best and are missed now at the top. It takes a lot of work to bring hurling to the top tier in any county but ultimately the counties themselves have to want it first. In counties Like Mayo and Roscommon where they have relatively successful football teams it will be a hard sell to make them a top tier hurling county. The more populous counties like Meath and kildare are more likely candidates and a lot of work is going on there. Unfortunately for Offaly being a small county with a great love for the game their population is not helping. As with Dublin in the football I feel that the more populated counties will prevail in the modern games.

ZUL10 (Clare) - Posts: 623 - 14/02/2021 12:14:44    2331332

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Great thread but why is the state of offaly hurling such a big thing in gaa circles. Whilst very unfortunate how far they have fallen there golden generation was nearly 25 years ago now. Feel a but like they are living off past glories.
Now don't get me wrong there are great people in offaly doing amazing work to get them back to a level they believe they should be at but there is no guarantees they will and if they do will even be competitive. Out of all hurling counties based on last season they are the 18th of 19th best in Ireland.
There has been numerous other counties who have progressed and put in good structures to constantly progress where as offaly don't appear to have. Biggest concern will be the hunger of the players to get back to a competitive level there will be more bad than good days to get there.
The great offaly teams of the 80s and 90s would run head first through brick walls for there county i don't think this group possesses the same mentality.

ITSCHOLAR (Carlow) - Posts: 262 - 14/02/2021 13:54:00    2331337

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it's not just because it's offaly,the loss of any county off the hurling landscape is a loss.
offaly is just more pronounced because where they have been in many of our life times.
it is also a reminder of how quickly things can go wrong in hurling.its not as if there are 20 counties playing it.

perfect10 (Wexford) - Posts: 3929 - 14/02/2021 15:00:07    2331341

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Replying To Viking66:  "Think you are being hard on other teams in the Joe McDonagh and even Christy Ring cups. The Hurling is of a good standard in these counties and some players off these panels would make senior Liam McCarthy panels too. The main problem these counties have is playing numbers in the county as a whole. This could be improved with the right investment in schools and underage structures as happened in Dublin this millenium. Dublin, while outsiders for Liam, are well able to beat any county on their day. They have run Wexford and Kilkenny very close in championship hurling the last 3 years and beaten Galway. And are consistently good at underage level the last decade. There is no reason why with the right investment any of the next best 10 counties outside the top 9 cant do the same over time. Wexford came from a very low level in the late 30s and early 40s, where the county was considered a football county, to dominating hurling by the mid 50s."
I don't mean to be harsh on teams playing in the lesser competition; I am questioning why there aren't more teams in the leinster championship and why more teams in leinster where the population is high, aren't in the liam McCarthy championship? I wonder if cork hurling fell on hard time, would they be relegated from the Munster championship? I doubt it. Also, why didn't the gaa invest in laois hurling when eddie brennan wanted to move to the next level and laois county board didn't have the funds. The teams at the top are moving further ahead of the counties in the lesser competitions which is making it impossible to catch up. Competition among the elite is competitive but it is a closed shop. I don't want to see matches between the same team repeatedly.

wicklowsupport (Wicklow) - Posts: 1237 - 14/02/2021 15:45:59    2331345

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