Brian Whelahan resigns as Offaly hurling manager after rejecting extension

Former All-Ireland winner first high-profile managerial casualty of the season

 Brian Whelahan on the sideline during a  National League match in 2014. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Brian Whelahan on the sideline during a National League match in 2014. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

 

Brian Whelahan has become the first high-profile managerial casualty of the season, resigning as Offaly hurling manager after a disappointing championship campaign.

Whelahan had held the position for only two years, coming in at the end of 2013 with the ambition of reviving Offaly’s fortunes.

He had been given the option of staying on for a third season in the hope that 2016 might bring better luck, but instead the former All-Ireland winner informed the county board last night of his decision to resign.

Neighbours It was a particularly disappointing campaign, especially in Leinster, where Offaly were beaten by neighbours Laois for the first time since 1972.

Laois were thought to be struggling at the time too, but they beat Offaly 0-29 to 0-21. Offaly then lost to Clare in the qualifiers 3-26 to 0-15.

It means a more premature end than expected for Whelahan, who was part of the hurling team of the millennium.

Meanwhile, the Clare county board have confirmed that Davy Fitzgerald will see out the remaining two years of his term as Clare hurling manager. Fitzgerald was given a one-year extension last summer, having been granted a three-year term after leading Clare to the 2013 All-Ireland.

Colm Collins will also continue with the county’s senior footballers for 2016.

In a statement released on yesterday evening, Clare county board chairman Michael McDonagh said: “I am delighted that Colm and Davy are committed to remaining in their respective positions for 2016. While everyone associated with Clare GAA is disappointed with the progress of both teams during 2015, we firmly believe that there are better things in store, and both Colm and Davy are the right people to lead their teams forward.”

There is sure to be extra pressure on both men heading into 2016.

Clare’s hurlers have won just one championship match since memorably lifting the Liam MacCarthy Cup in 2013 and bowed out of this year’s All-Ireland after a round two qualifier defeat to Cork at Semple Stadium last Saturday night.

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