The GAA was reeling Sunday night following confirmation of the sudden death of Offaly football manager Liam Kearns. The Tralee-born man passed away following a sudden illness on Sunday. He was 60.
In a statement, Offaly GAA said it was "devastated to learn of the sudden passing this evening of our senior football manager, Liam Kearns.
"In his short period of time as manager of the senior footballers, Liam made a hugely positive impact and he was extremely well respected by everyone associated with Offaly GAA.
"Offaly GAA extend deepest sympathies to his wife Angela and daughters Rachel & Laura. May he rest in peace."
Kearns, appointed Offaly manager on a three-year term last August, had guided the county to a one-point win over Longford seven days earlier.
The 60-year-old previously managed Limerick, Tipperary and Laois. During his six years in charge of Limerick, he led them to Munster finals in 2003 and ‘04, forcing Kerry to a replay in the latter decider, as well as Division 1. He also guided Limerick’s U21s to back-to-back Munster titles and an All-Ireland final appearance.
In 2006, he succeeded fellow Kerry man Mick O’Dwyer as Laois manager and they reached the 2007 Leinster final before he stepped away the following season.
After bringing Aherlow to a senior Tipperary championship in 2010, Kearns took over Tipperary in late 2015 and in his first season brought them to a first All-Ireland semi-final in 116 years after a qualifier win over Galway and quarter-final victory against Galway.
Prior to his Offaly role, he managed Clann na Gael in Roscommon and they reached the 2021 county final. He also assisted his fellow Kerryman John Evans in 2015 when Evans was in charge of the county.
A retired Garda sergeant and member of Austin Stacks, he completed a Strength & Conditioning degree from Setanta College in the mid-2010s.
Although he did not make a senior championship appearance for Kerry, he played 10 times for the Kingdom across the county’s league campaigns from 1984 to ‘86. An All-Ireland minor medal winner in 1980, he scored an impressive 7-12 in the six-game campaign as a wing-forward.
Kearns revealed last year that he had applied for the Galway position in 2019 following Kevin Walsh’s departure but Pádraic Joyce was handed the position.
Succeeding John Maughan in Offaly, Kearns was assisted by Martin Murphy, John Rouse, Alan Flynn, Keith Carr, Brendan Egan and Paul Fitzgerald. With promotion still a possibility, Offaly are due to play their penultimate Division 3 game against his old team Tipperary in FBD Semple Stadium next Saturday.
Offaly beat Dublin in this year’s O’Byrne Cup but pulled out of their semi-final against Louth citing player unavailability and not securing a rescheduling of the game. However, Kearns had earlier claimed the integrity of the competition had been brought into question by Louth handing Wexford a walkover having already qualified for the semi-final.