Sports

Kelly and Hughes appointed as Offaly U-20 and 17 football managers

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Kelly and Hughes appointed as Offaly U-20 and 17 football managers thumbnailJohn Hughes, the Offaly U-17 football manager. TT31241

DECLAN Kelly and John Hughes are to be appointed as the new Offaly U-20 and 17 football managers.
Hughes was the Offaly minor football manager this year and his appointment for the new U-17 grade (it replaces minor) was an expected one - the appointment of the two men has to be rubber stamped by a full meeting of the Offaly GAA County Board in September but that should be a formality.
Declan Kelly is a native of Kilclonfert and has made his name of the club scene in recent years, establishing himself as one of the brightest managerial prospects in Offaly.
He guided the Daingean parish U-21 team, St Vincent's to a sensational three championships in a row from 2014 to 2016, St Brigid's to the Intermediate Football Championship in 2012 and Cappincur to the Intermediate and Senior B Football Championships in 2015 and 2016.
He had been lined up to be the new Offaly U-21 football manager for 2016 but withdrew his name after he had been put forward before a full County Board meeting for ratification without having given final agreement to taking on the role - Kelly was proposed with Bracknagh's David Connolly and Tullamore's Benny O'Brien as selectors but he pulled out days after that County Board meeting.
It was an unseemly sequence of events at the time with then senior manager, Pat Flanagan unhappy after being told that he wouldn't be allowed to continue as the U-21 manager (he had combined both roles in 2015).
Kelly had been concerned about the volume of U-21s that would be on the Offaly senior panel and the access he would have to them. He had been attempting to get clarification on this when his name was put to the County Board for appointment.
Now he has agreed to take on the role of U-20 manager, looking after the team for the new grade that replaces U-21. He is the choice of a selection committee of County Board chairman, Tommy Byrne, secretary, Eamon Cusack, Vinny Claffey (Doon), Colm Quinn (Ballycumber) and Paul Mollen (Ferbane).
John Hughes is a native of Kilcavan but has lived in Durrow for many years. He has been very involved in the Ballinamere/Durrow minor club and has managed Offaly development and underage football squads in recent years. This year, Offaly minor footballers went well under him with wins over Wexford and Westmeath before letting a good chance of further progress slip when losing to Louth in the quarter-final.
The management packages of both managers will be announced at the next County Board meeting.
Meanwhile, there has been no news yet about the appointment of new Offaly senior football and hurling managers but the search for both is ongoing.

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