Liam Sheedy plays kingmaker in Offaly

2010 All-Ireland-winning manager Liam Sheedy is to spearhead the search for the new Offaly senior hurling manager.

The Faithful County’s board executive have turned to the former Tipp boss in their quest to fill the post vacated by Brian Whelahan last month.

Sheedy will head a five-man committee comprising of county board chairman Padraig Boland, county secretary Tommy Byrne, and former players Joe Brady and Rory Hanniffy.

The Portroe native’s track record on the sideline, experience and understanding of the modern inter-county scene were cited by the executive as the main reasons for his recruitment, a statement circulated to clubs earlier this week stated.

With no county board meeting this month, the selection committee will make a recommendation to the board in advance of the September board meeting, with a view to putting a new manager in place in advance of the knockout stages of the local championship.

Former Offaly hurler Danny Owens is the first to declare his interest in succeeding Whelahan. The two-time All-Ireland medal-winner was a front-runner when last the post lay vacant in late 2013, but Owens was not called for interview as the board executive opted for Whelahan.

Owens has managed Kilcormac/ Killoughey to the last three Offaly SHC titles, achieving provincial glory in 2012 - the Offaly club fell to St Thomas’ of Galway in the St Patrick’s Day decider.

Former Limerick hurler and present Limerick senior camogie manager Joe Quaid is another believed to be drawn by the role. The former Treaty goalkeeper steered his native county to All-Ireland intermediate camogie glory last September. The incoming manager faces an arduous task to drag Offaly out of hurling wilderness, a dismal championship campaign this summer opening the door to the very real prospect of relegation to the Christy Ring Cup in 2017.

By virtue of their Leinster quarter-final defeat to Laois back on June 7- the county’s first to their neighbours in 43 years, Offaly will commence their championship next year in the Leinster qualifying group alongside Kerry, Westmeath and Carlow. The county’s last championship win against a top-eight side arrived in June of 2012 against Wexford.

The acquisition of Sheedy’s services follows the appointment last year of two-time All-Ireland-winning manager Diarmuid Healy to a front a committee charged with improving underage structures in the county.

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