Errity's Faithful departure after glittering career

OFFALY'S Joe Errity yesterday announced his retirement from inter- county hurling.

The 34-year-old Birr clubman's career spanned 18 years, during which time he won two All-Ireland SHC medals in 1994 and 1998.

After overcoming a serious knee injury, Errity played at corner- back in the 1994 win over Limerick, while four years later he was at full forward, scoring a crucial second-half goal in the Faithful county's victory over Kilkenny.

On the club front, Errity won four All-Ireland club titles, (he captained the side in 1998), six Leinster and eight county senior medals.

He was Offaly Hurler of the Year in 2001.

He last lined out for the county at full-forward in last year's All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to Tipperary.

Meanwhile, the Offaly County Board is to combine the launch of the re-development of O'Connor Park, Tullamore with a gala night in honour of their Allstar hurling and football winners.

The event will take place at the Tullamore Court Hotel on April 2.

All 43 winners, with the exception of the late Pat Carroll, who was the first Offaly hurler to win two awards, will be present for the occasion.

Offaly is unique in that it is the only county in the country with Allstars in every position on the field in both hurling and football.

The selection of John Troy at centre-forward in the hurling team in 1999 filled the final piece of the jigsaw.

Indeed, Offaly's place on the Allstar ladder is further enhanced by the fact that Damien Martin as goalkeeper and Eugene Mulligan were the first two Allstars when the scheme was introduced in 1971.

Offaly players have won 72 Allstars between them, with Liam Currans collecting his coveted awards in both codes.

Twenty-five hurlers have won a total of 42 awards between them.

Brian Whelahan leads the way with four awards, three of them at right half-back.

He also picked up one at full- forward in 1998.

The redevelopment of O'Connor Park, Tullamore will commence after the Leinster SFC tie between Offaly and Westmeath.

Board officials plan to demolish the existing stand and construct a 7,000 capacity all seater stand.

Once the stand is completed, it is hoped to immediately commence work on a new terrace on the existing hill on the hospital side of the ground, while floodlights will also be provided.

The approximate cost of the new stand is €4.4 million of which the County Board will have to raise at least €2.5m, while the estimated cost of phases one and two is €7m.

Already the commitment of funding has been secured under Lotto funding from the Department of Arts, Sport & Tourism and the GAA's own bodies of Central and Leinster Council.

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