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Dublin: 2 °C Tuesday 22 January, 2019

Offaly boss Flanagan to meet with clubs as delegates call for his dismissal after record defeat

The Faithful suffered a 30-point beating by Armagh last Sunday.

Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

OFFALY SENIOR FOOTBALL manager Pat Flanagan is set to meet with the county’s clubs next Tuesday amid calls for his removal following their recent 30-point defeat to Armagh.

The Faithful endured a 6-22 to 0-10 hammering by Kieran McGeeney’s side, leaving them bottom of Division 3 and staring down the barrel of relegation to the basement tier.

Midlands 103 report that the nature of the defeat prompted two club delegates to call for a change of management at Tuesday night’s county board meeting.

It was Offaly’s biggest ever defeat in the league and their heaviest loss since a 6-14 to 0-1 whipping by Louth in the 1900 Leinster SFC.

A number of other delegates questioned the direction of the squad under the former Westmeath and Sligo boss.

Defensive tactics, the team’s poor away form and a lack of opportunities afforded to youngsters were among the issues raised by delegates in a lengthy discussion.

“It looks to me that the players aren’t playing for Pat Flanagan,” Cappincur delegate Paul Corrigan said, as reported by Midlands 103.

“He’s brought no players through in his previous two years and is at war with clubs half the time. I don’t know if his position is tenable anymore.”

Kilclonfert’s Matt Kelly added: “He doesn’t know what he’s doing and the men around him seem to know less. I’d be looking for a change. It’s a scandal what’s going on.

“We’re wasting money on that man, he’s bringing nothing new, he’s a facility for some clubs to train, he trains players from certain clubs and he’s not interested in winning. That’s my honest opinion.”

It’s Flanagan’s third year in charge of Offaly, having secured the Division 4 league crown in his first year at the helm. The league final win over Longford was a first victory for Offaly’s footballers at Croke Park since 2006.

The Faithful narrowly missed out on promotion to Division 2 in 2016, losing out to Clare on scoring difference.

The Clara man also led Offaly to their first Leinster SFC win in nine years when they saw off Longford last May.

They lost to Westmeath by a point in the provincial quarter-final, before suffering a five-point defeat to Kildare in Round 2B of the qualifiers.

“We’re after being very competitive in every game since I got involved with Offaly and that was the first game we haven’t been competitive in,” Flanagan said on Sunday.

“It’s very difficult straight off to see why, but to concede six goals and whatever points is very difficult to take.”

Offaly chairman Tommy Byrne announced that a motion to sack the manager needed to be submitted ahead of the monthly meeting for it to be on the agenda.

Byrne warned those present: “Before you take radical action, you need to know where you’re going next.”

The chairman agreed to arrange a meeting between Flanagan and the clubs for Thursday night.

Updated 14.10: This news was originally reported by Midlands 103 on Wednesday; the above article has been updated to reflect that.

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Kevin O'Brien

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