Hogan calls for change at the top as Offaly GAA respond to recent criticism

Thursday, 3 August 2017

THE Offaly underage hurling crisis took more twists and turns in recent days with former Offaly hurler, Liam Hogan calling for the resignation of County Board chairman Tommy Byrne, while the board have issued a staunch defence of their actions and made a plea for unity.
Coolderry native Hogan was chairman of the Offaly Hurling Review Implementation Committee and he resigned recently, along with other members: Marion Crean (Shinrone), Brian Carroll (Coolderry), David Kenny (Belmont), Michael Verney (Birr), Ger Scales (St Rynagh's) and Mary Wyer (Ballinamere).
They cited their frustration at the Offaly GAA County Board as they resigned, outlining a series of grievances in minutes of meetings that they released to clubs last week.
In a wide ranging interview on Sunday, Liam Hogan outlined his grievances and called for change at the top table of Offaly GAA, stating that if Offaly are to improve on the field of play, a "total clear out is needed".
Hogan said: "Change is needed. Look, I hate to say it, but I think we need an absolute clean-out. Why is it that we've had no PRO for the last 14 months? That's an absolute joke.
"I don't know what they have to fear. Let the truth out there and give people tasks of work to do, and make them responsible for those tasks of work. I'm involved with Ballyboden St Enda's in Dublin and Ballyboden is run like a business.
"That's the way Offaly County Board needs to be run. We need a clean-out at the top table and get business people in there, who know how to run it."
The implementation committee raised a number of issues, including the role played by performance coach, Emmet Egan and AIT in the provision of strength and conditioning for Offaly hurlers. Hogan claimed that they were misled with regard to the relationship with Offaly GAA and AIT but in a statement released on Tuesday, Offaly GAA expressed disappointed with this claim.
"It is extremely disappointing that recent comments have completely misrepresented the actual role and involvement that Emmet has had with Offaly GAA and there was no attempt made to ascertain the full facts prior to the circulation of an account of a meeting in the county", they said in their statement.
The Offaly GAA statement also included confirmation from Leinster Council that they have used the 40,000 euro annual hurling development funding properly as this had been questioned by the resigned members.
The Offaly GAA County Board held a meeting with club chairmen and secretaries on Monday night where they agreed to approach the resigned members and ask them to reconsider their decision. They will also set up a steering committee of board officers and club chairpersons to oversee the implementation of hurling coaching plans.
See pages 67 and 53 for the full Liam Hogan interview and response from Offaly GAA.


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