Sports

Kerry man surprise choice as new Offaly senior football manager

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Kerry man surprise choice as new Offaly senior football manager thumbnailNew Offaly senior football manager, Stephen Wallace.

OFFALY have pulled a "rabbit from the hat" by announcing a largely unknown Kerry man as the county's new senior football manager.

Stephen Wallace was announced by the board as their choice for manager last Wednesday night. He replaces Clara man Pat Flanagan whose term was ended after a disappointing championship campaign this year.

Wallace has developed a fine reputation in his home county in recent years. He managed Kerry to win All-Ireland Junior Football Championship titles in 2015 and 2016, his home club Ardfert to the All-Ireland club Intermediate Football Championship in 2015 and was manager of the Tralee IT team in the Sigerson Cup this year - they were beaten by IT Carlow in the first round.

Wallace's appointment ends an intensive search by a committee consisting of Offaly GAA chairman, Tommy Byrne, secretary, Eamon Cusack and former players, Vinny Claffey (Doon), Finbarr Cullen (Edenderry) and Paul Mollen (Ferbane).

It became apparent early in their search that their preferred candidate was an outside one rather than someone from within the county - Rhode's Pascal Kellaghan was the leading Offaly candidate but after three years with a local man in charge, the preferred option was to go outside on this occasion.

Dubliner Paul Curran and Galway's Val Daly were among the outsiders linked with the job but Wallace's work with the Kerry junior team in particular impressed the committee.

At club level, he also managed Milltown/Castlemaine in Kerry while he was full forward on the Kerry team that won the All-Ireland Junior Football Championship in 2006 and he won an All-Ireland U-21 football medal with them in 1996.

A former student at Tralee IT, he played Sigerson Cup with them in 1996 and he takes charge of Offaly during what will be a transitional period for them following the retirement of star forward Niall McNamee a couple of weeks ago.

The new manager was present in Tullamore on Saturday last at the Intermediate Football Championship final and Senior Football Championship quarter-finals and while he won't have been too excited by what he saw, the dreadful weather conditions were a big factor on the day.

 

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