IT was a good week for Offaly hurling as Michael Fennelly was officially sworn in as the new Offaly Senior hurling manager and the duo of Gary Cahill and Shane Hand were confirmed to be returning as the U20 hurling management.
Fennelly has already hit the ground running, spending a full day in the Faithful Fields last Thursday meeting prospective backroom team members, County Board officials, sponsors and media.
Speaking last Thursday, the 34 year old Kilkenny native said he was aware of the difficulties in recent years and hopes that he will have a full deck to pick from.
“Younger players these days are…they have different ambitions, maybe some of them are travelling and stuff and I think you have to understand that as well but obviously I’m hoping for any player who I do pick to come in on the panel that will come in, fingers crossed. If they don’t they don’t but whoever wants to come in, I will work with and I will give 100% and my backroom team will give 100% as well in terms of getting the most out of those players,” explained the Ballyhale Shamrocks club man.
There is no backroom team in place as of yet but that is hoped to be concluded in the next three weeks.
Meanwhile, Offaly GAA Chairman Tommy Byrne confirmed to the Tribune last Thursday that Gary Cahill and Shane Hand will carry on as the under 20 management having met with Michael Fennelly that morning.
Mr Byrne had stated at a County Board meeting two nights previous that it wasn't fully sorted out but that is now put to bed.
Michael Fennelly was in Clareen on Sunday evening to see Shinrone get the better of St Rynagh's as the group stages of the championship drew to close.
For an in depth interview with new Offaly hurling manager Michael Fennelly, see inside on pages 54 and 55.
The Junior Hurling Championship final for 2019 will be between Kilcormac/Killoughey and Belmont after both came through their semi-finals last weekend. Belmont got the better of Kinnitty, 3-18 to 0-16 while Kilcormac/Killoughey won out 0-16 to 1-8 over Tullamore.
The quarter finals of the Senior hurling, Senior 'B' hurling and Intermediate hurling championships will take place the weekend after next and the draws are as follows:
Birr v Shinrone; Belmont v Coolderry
(St Rynagh's and Kilcormac/Killoughey straight through to semi finals)
Senior 'B' Hurling
Lusmagh v Tullamore; Drumcullen v Carrig and Riverstown
(Seir Kieran and Clodiagh Gaels straight through to semi finals)
Clara v Brosna Gaels; Birr v Seir Kieran
(Coolderry and St Rynagh's straight through to semi finals).
Meanwhile, it is a big weekend in the football championships with the senior, senior “B” and intermediate quarter-finals and relegation play-offs down for decision along with the Junior Football Championship final between Doon and Edenderry.
See inside for comprehensive coverage of all the GAA action.