Regan rails at decline of Offaly hurling

Former Offaly All-Ireland winner Daithí Regan has taken a swipe at his county’s management, while the players weren’t spared from criticism either.

With the county already destined to spend another season in the second tier of the league after losses to Dublin and most recently to Limerick, speaking exclusively to the Irish Examiner Regan said he stands by comments that they would be a Christy Ring side within five years. He added that some of manager Ollie Baker’s decision-making “is like something you’d see at a junior level”, and noted that the focus for this season “had to be promotion and that would define a good year but that’s already gone now”.

The Birr native, who works as a pundit and has recently taken over senior club Shinroan, continued: “In Offaly, the players look for crutches. We look for excuses. We hurl from behind. We give up a yard. And I’ve been watching it for the last five years. At the weekend when we played Limerick, with them you can see a game plan with control, with movement, with speed.

“It’s the same with Clare. But Ollie Baker is there as long as Davy Fitz is in Clare yet we still don’t know what style we want to play. We tried to play some sort of possession game and it was so desperate.

“At the time I thought the appointment was wrong, and in the two years it’s just gone downhill completely, even from there. I fear for it. The lads go out and admire Kilkenny and we are trying to do what they are doing. We always say Kilkenny are doing this and that and we had better do the same.

It’s completely the wrong approach. We aren’t alone as other teams too look at them but they don’t realise they aren’t as big or strong and have to go out and do their own thing.”

Regan went on to question the manhood of the current team, suggesting that whatever about talent, they are mentally nothing like the side he was a part of that reached the top in 1994.

“It’s not new either. I spoke some harsh words [as a selector in 2005]. Players can turn around now and say ‘shit management’ and I’d have my own views on that. But there is a weak mentality. When we played, you didn’t hear from outside the group what was wrong, you got it from Joe Dooley or Michael Duignan. Fellas were men enough to say it and you took it because they were right. They lack that now.”

He concluded by saying that people for a decade have been worried about the disappearance of Offaly and Wexford but that happened long ago and he doesn’t expect to see either back as a force any time soon, although he would still love the chance to help his county back up the ladder as a manager in the near future. He did however concede that whatever about Offaly, the sport was in a good place and that the Munster championship should be one of the best ever.

Read more on Daithí Regan in tomorrow’s Big Interview


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