‘One disaster after another’: Michael Duignan shocked by Offaly manager’s departure

Offaly are searching for a new hurling manager yet again after the surprise departure of Kevin Ryan, writes Stephen Barry.

Ryan steps down after a year in charge, like his predecessor Eamonn Kelly, who later took over the Laois hurlers, and he explained to the Irish Examiner why he felt continuing in the role would be “divisive and make progress for Offaly hurling extremely difficult”.

He said: “My honest feeling is I wouldn’t get public support, and the traditional support, and from a certain amount of the panel, to implement the type of changes I’d want. That’s what would make it divisive, if I was continuing on.

“The majority of people and a lot of the players who spoke at that players’ meeting want a traditional style and I think they’d find it hard to change my way of thinking.”

The County Board are also looking for a football manager after Pat Flanagan was removed from the role at a meeting – he learned the news from his wife, who saw it on Twitter.

Former Offaly hurler Michael Duignan said he’s dismayed by the county lurching into “one disaster after another” after Ryan’s departure.

“I'm a bit shocked. The noises Kevin had been making were that he was hoping to stay on for the three-year term,” he told Morning Ireland.

“Obviously he has gauged the mood among the players and some other people since the Waterford game and he has decided to go.

“I hadn't heard an awful lot about it locally. There was certainly a level of discontent after he made the comments before the Waterford match where he said that to avoid a slaughtering was the best we could hope for against Waterford.

“A lot of people felt that was going into a big game like that with the wrong attitude and no ambition to win it. That left a sour taste.”

Offaly’s only win this summer came against Westmeath, before suffering 19- and 24-point defeats to Galway and Waterford respectively. They lost five out of six league games, with the sole victory against Kerry.

The job to turnaround the county’s fortunes goes deeper than the senior manager, according to Duignan.

“Whoever is managing Offaly in the morning is going to have a very, very tough task until we improve our schools, until we improve our underage.

“We're just not producing the player that's good enough for a top coach to work with at senior level.

“The hurling implementation group stepped down last week last week. There’s a lot of frustration there that the progress is very slow from County Board level.

“The football manager (Flanagan) is gone as well. It just seems to be one disaster after another and there's the two managers gone again and back to the drawing board.”

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