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Dublin: 4°C Monday 19 April 2021

Offaly boss learned he was axed after his wife saw the news on social media

Pat Flanagan’s tenure with Offaly came to an end this week.

Offaly manager Pat Flanagan after their qualifier loss to Cavan.
Offaly manager Pat Flanagan after their qualifier loss to Cavan.
Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

PAT FLANAGAN HAS revealed that it was his wife who informed him that he had been axed as Offaly senior football team manager on Tuesday evening.

At a county board meeting, Flanagan was ousted after a recommendation brought forward by the top table was passed.

Breaking his silence on the matter, Flanagan says that a promise of €4,000 for gym equipment last November wasn’t followed through, and that he was informed in February that the money wouldn’t be forthcoming.

He also revealed that having requested a video analysis programme, a team doctor and GPS tracking systems, he was told that they would be in place before the start of the Allianz League campaign, but none were delivered.

Flanagan says, too, that there’s an ongoing issue with expenses due to management and strength and conditioning coach David Hare, with some unpaid and dating back to February.

Flanagan has also indicated that his efforts to progress Offaly football were hampered behind the scenes during his three-year tenure.

And he expressed disappointment when confirming that his wife Linda first noticed on social media that Faithful County top brass had pushed through a move to replace him at the helm.

Flanagan said last night: “It was extremely disappointing that my wife found out on social media, and informed me on Tuesday night, of the decision.

“It’s been an honour and privilege to get the opportunity to manage my own county.

“As a person who captained Offaly at U-14, minor and U-21, it was a pleasure to do that and work with those young Offaly men who are a credit to themselves, their families and their county.

“I’m disappointed that I wasn’t more persuasive in some of the things that I tried to achieve with the county board.”

Pat Flanagan Pat Flanagan during Offaly's qualifier against Cavan in Tullamore. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Flanagan, who’d previously managed Westmeath and Sligo, explained how he wanted he wanted a high-profile figure, with a proven record of success, present alongside him to review his first season at the helm in 2015.

He said: “I requested that someone of the calibre of Sean Boylan or Tommy Lyons would be part of that meeting to assess what I’d achieved in my first year, and to make recommendations for the coming year.

“We didn’t get that opportunity and they (county board) brought on a local man, (former player) Vinny Claffey.

“I wanted somebody that had achieved as a manager in the Leinster championship, and learn from him, to give Offaly the best opportunity possible of moving forward.”

Flanagan also says that his suggestion to run weekend forums to oversee the development of teams at all grades – and to get them playing to a set style across the board that would help the transition from the underage to senior ranks – was also not acted upon.

He also put forward the idea of running a parish championship alongside the existing county championship, similar to Kerry and aimed at developing players, but that was also met with a thumbs-down from the county board.

Flanagan added that shortly before going on a two-week holiday in 2015, he was asked to draw up short and long-term plans relating to his vision for the future of Offaly football.

Having worked diligently on that during his break, Flanagan said: “The reaction of then secretary Tommy Byrne was one of ‘shock horror’, and ‘do you want to come in and run the county board?’ That plan hasn’t seen the light of day since.”

And detailing the series of events that led to what was effectively his sacking as team manager, Flanagan said: “I got a phone call on Monday evening from Tommy Byrne, the chairman, and he said to me that following a meeting of the new committee, it was recommended that my name wouldn’t be put forward, and that would be going to the (county board) meeting the following day.

“He said that I could make a statement and put it in the paper the next day, explaining that I wasn’t going forward and they would back me fully.

“I rang him back on Tuesday, an hour before the county board meeting, and said I wasn’t resigning.

“I asked for a meeting with club delegates, which wasn’t offered to me either. He said he’d ring me back later.

“I haven’t heard anything since.”

Flanagan concluded by thanking the previous Offaly county board chairman, Padraig Boland, for giving him the chance to manage the team, having been nominated for the position by Tullamore’s Fergal McKeon.

He also thanked groundsman Liam Corcoran, who looks after the team’s Walsh Island training base, as well as media and “genuine” team supporters “for all of their support during the last three years.”

He also paid tribute to his backroom team and selectors James Stewart, Declan Farrell and Pat Daly, along with Hare and his team.

Flanagan concluded: “I also have to thank my wife Linda and my three sons, Peter, Colin and Wayne, for their continued support and understanding.

“I want to thank the players for their support, commitment and dedication in their efforts to take Offaly football to a different level.

“Maybe if they had been provided with some of the above mentioned, their massive efforts would have been rewarded.

“I’ve been heartened by received several messages from panel members and I hope we have developed to a level where we can push forward from here.”

When contacted last night, Offaly county board chairman Tommy Byrne responded: “It’s common knowledge what happened on Tuesday night.

“It came before a full county board meeting and was dealt with there.”

When asked about Flanagan’s claims on requests for gym equipment and other matters, Byrne said: “I’m not really going to get into stuff like that, he’s the ex-manager.

“I’m not getting into a tit-for-tat, that’s going nowhere.”

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Jackie Cahill

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