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John Maughan non-committal on Offaly future after Tailteann exit

The Mayo man has been in charge for the past four seasons.

John Maughan congratulates Jack Cooney after the game.
John Maughan congratulates Jack Cooney after the game.
Image: Ben Brady/INPHO

JOHN MAUGHAN WAS coy on his future as Offaly boss after his fourth season in charge ended with a one-sided defeat to Westmeath in the Tailteann Cup semi-final.

It was never a game Offaly looked like winning and Maughan admitted injuries and the unavailability of key personnel impacted their chances this year.

“We lost seven or eight what you’d call potential starters. Now, of course, they were replaced by the Keith O’Neills and Jack Bryants. But when you take Peter Cunningham (army tour of duty), Eoin Carroll (Australia), Cian Farrell, Eoin Rigney (both ACL injuries) and more, it’s been difficult.

“In a dual county like Offaly, you need everyone because the playing pool is small. That’s just reality. You’d love to have more talent coming through and more competition for places but the reality is that takes a bit of time and we’re just not there yet.

“But nonetheless, for the likes of Cathal Donoghue who dislocated his knee, the Tailteann Cup would have been great because he’s not getting a lot of club football, he’s with a junior club. Just a shame for the likes of him. But those guys will come through in time.”

As for remaining in the position for 2023?

“I honestly don’t know,” he replied. “I won’t be answering that question this evening out of respect. It’s the county chairman that appointed me, it’s him that I’ll be chatting to over the next couple of days. 

“Very often these decisions are decided for you,” he added. 

The Mayo native conceded that Westmeath, who ran out 3-22 to 2-16 winners were a step above his young team.

“We were comprehensively beaten by a much superior Westmeath team. They’re very strong, physically strong and there’s no doubt we were struggling in most lines.

“We got overrun from the get-go. It was just a question from half-time onwards of playing for pride, playing for the jersey and that kind of stuff.

“It’s a different kind of conversation you have when you go in seven or eight points down at the break. It was a difficult afternoon for sure.

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“They (Offaly) are very, very young. The thing is at times they were just pushed off the ball by the physical presence of the Westmeath side. Their level of development is far superior to Offaly’s at this juncture. There’s certainly a gap to be bridged there.”

Westmeath set-up a final showdown with Cavan and manager Jack Cooney is optimistic at the opportunity to lift the trophy. 

“Silverware is silverware, and we’ve a lot of lads who put a lot of time and a lot of effort and a lot of commitment into the maroon and white, and don’t have an awful lot to show for it.

“So, whether it’s a Tailteann Cup or a Division 3 or Division 2, whatever it is, that’s valued very, very highly. And I think that, more so than anything else, would be a huge incentive for the lads now.

“If we can manage to put in a performance and climb the steps there in three weeks’ time, that would be a great experience for the group.”

About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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