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Ex-captain calls for change at county board level to progress Offaly hurling

Dr Brendan Murphy hurled with Offaly for 13 years and is now team doctor with Tipperary.

FORMER OFFALY MIDFIELDER Dr Brendan Murphy says “something has to give” at county board level if the Faithful’s rapid decline in hurling is to be halted.

Oisin McConville and Dr Brendan Murphy Dr Brendan Murphy was speaking at the National Concussion Symposium Media Briefing in Croke Park yesterday Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Dr Murphy retired in 2012 after a 13-year career with the Offaly hurlers, and since 2015 has been working as team doctor with Michael Ryan’s Tipperary squad.

The Ballyskenagh native was watching on with interest as former Taoiseach Brian Cowen came in as a mediator in crunch talks between the Offaly county board and members of the hurling review committee who resigned last month.

Brian Carroll, David Kenny and Michael Verney – all former county teammates of Murphy’s – and ex-Ballyboden manager Liam Hogan were all involved in the committee but resigned en masse last month after their ‘total frustration’ at a lack of movement to implement key suggestions from the review group.

Dr Murphy believes change may be needed at the top for progress to be made.

“Before anything has even happened they have a mediator in place which doesn’t augur well,” he says. “If you look at Offaly hurling, three years, three different managers. Very little success at senior level, very little success at underage level. Without being too critical, it’s their job.

“The Offaly county board are there to manage the successes of Offaly GAA. At the moment they are a common denominator between different managers coming in and out, between everything that’s happened governing underage.

Brendan Murphy 17/2012 Brendan Murphy in action during his final campaign with Offaly in 2012 Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“The committee came in, they’ve walked. The county board are the common denominator and either they change their approach on things or the same as any company, if things aren’t working you need to get new management on board.”

Murphy, who played in the 2000 All-Ireland final against Kilkenny and captained Offaly in the 2006 campaign, says it’s imperative for the future of hurling in the county that the committee are enticed back on board.

“It’s easy for me to sit here and they turn around and say that I haven’t put my name forward to be county chairman and it’s true. At the same time I think something has to give. I think Offaly need the likes of Brian Carroll and Liam Hogan. As you said move heaven and earth and if things need to change at county board level to get more of that calibre of guy involved, maybe that needs to happen.

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“From the senior performances to the underage performances things haven’t been good really for the last number of years. There was a bit of light at the end of the tunnel last year when we got a new panel involved at underage with Brian Carroll, Liam Hogan – top guys with loads of experience. But then unfortunately as you probably know they walked en masse; broken promises etc.

“You can see Clare and Wexford in the last couple of years have invested heavily at underage and put a lot of time and resources into it. That’s what Offaly basically need to do.

“It’s not rocket science. It looked like last year that things were finally going to head in that direction, the lads were on board and came up with proposals that were going to be implemented and then this happened. I’m not privy to the conversations that are going on, but certainly looking in from the outside, it’s very disappointing.”

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