DUBLIN ALL-IRELAND winner Vinnie Murphy and Kerry native Niall Hobbert have been sounded out over their availability to take over the Offaly footballers on an interim basis in the wake of Stephen Wallace being removed from the position last night.
Wallace’s departure was announced by Offaly GAA chiefs in the wake of a controversial few days for football in the county after last Sunday’s loss in their Leinster opener to Wicklow.
Murphy and Hobbert, who jointly manage Dublin club St Peregrine’s and were in the frame for the Offaly job before Wallace was appointed, were contacted this morning to ascertain if they would be interested in taking on the position as joint managers.
During their playing days both Murphy and Hobbert played club football with Wallace for the Kerins O’Rahilly’s club in Tralee.
Hobbert also worked with Wallace as the strength and conditioning coach when Kerry won the All-Ireland junior football title in 2015.
A decision is set to be made in the next couple of days as to who will take over before Offaly feature in the All-Ireland qualifiers next month.
“We’ve been contacted by Offaly this morning by a member of the county board, sounding Vinny Murphy and myself out on our availability for the interim position in the wake of Stephen Wallace’s departure,” Hobbert told The42.
“It’d be a co-management position. We were in the mix at the start of the season for the position as we were in the Wicklow and Westmeath management positions as well.
“We’ve been sounded out by a member of the county board asking what’s our availability and telling us that there’ll be a decision made in the next day or two.
“There’s a group being formed (in Offaly) to decide on the interim manager and that we’d be getting a phone call this evening.
“We have commitments with the St Peregrine’s football club in Dublin. It shouldn’t affect as it’s an interim position and there’s a two week gap coming up now with our football in Dublin.
“If it’s a possibility to do both, obviously yes we would consider the offer.”
Since being approached this morning by the Offaly county board, Hobbert has not been able to get in contact with Wallace.
From working with him, he stated that he holds Wallace in ‘high regard’ as a Gaelic football manager.
“I played with Stephen with Kerins O’Rahilly’s. I would consider him a good friend but not only that I’d have very, very high regard for him as a manager and I’d hate for this to be seen as we’ve gone after something when we haven’t.”
Earlier this morning on Off The Ball AM, Wallace spoke about his disillusionment after his dismissal and rejected recent suggestions about his Offaly setup.
Wallace was recommended last September to take over in Offaly after All-Ireland managerial success with his own club Ardfert and the Kerry junior footballers.
His opening league campaign with Offaly saw them avoid relegation as they finished sixth in Division 3 before Wallace was forced to watch from the stands in Portlaoise during last Sunday’s Leinster loss to Wicklow after being handed an eight-week suspension for his involvement in a melee during a Kerry club match in April.
Murphy came on as a substitute during Dublin’s 1995 All-Ireland senior football final success over Tyrone.
He won five Leinster senior football medals during his career with Dublin and was selected at full-forward on the 1992 All-Star team.
A native of Tralee, Hobbert is now based in Dublin where he runs the PT & Performance Clinic. He works with a number of teams in different sports in strength and conditioning.
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