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Former Taoiseach Cowen mediates in crunch Offaly hurling talks

Cowen, a renowned Offaly GAA follower, is the high-profile figure who has agreed to step in to oversee negotiations.

Cowen looks on at an Offaly club hurling match in 2015.
Cowen looks on at an Offaly club hurling match in 2015.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

FORMER TAOISEACH BRIAN Cowen is the high-profile mediator in crunch talks between the Offaly county board and members of the hurling review/implementation committee who recently resigned.

It emerged last month that the group, which was set up in 2014 and agitated for change to the county’s hurling structures, stepped down en masse – with the blame for their departures laid firmly at the county board’s door.

Committee chairman Liam Hogan, the former Ballyboden St Enda’s manager, revealed that the resignations were prompted by ‘total frustration’ and an apparent lack of movement to implement the review group’s key suggestions.

In a statement released at the start of this month, the Offaly county board insisted that it remains committed to the ‘hurling pathway plan’ and was asking group members, which include former county players Brian Carroll, David Kenny and Michael Verney, to reconsider their decisions.

Cowen, a renowned Offaly GAA follower, is the high-profile figure who has agreed to step in to oversee negotiations between both parties.

The first mediation meeting was due to take place last evening, and it’s understood that five club chairpersons were also due to be in attendance at the new Faithful Fields Centre of Excellence in Kilcormac.

Details of those talks, and whether any common ground can be found between the county board and Hogan’s group, could emerge later today.

But in a stinging overview of the Offaly board last month, Hogan publicly called for the resignation of chairman Tommy Byrne, describing him as an ‘absolute disaster.’

– First published 14.45, 29 August


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