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Daithi Regan Returns To The Fray Despite Dismissive Comments Of Offaly Co. Board

Daithi Regan Returns To The Fray Despite Dismissive Comments Of Offaly Co. Board
By Conor Neville

If Moody's rating agency turned their hand to rating hurling counties, they'd have thought long and hard about reducing Offaly hurling to junk status after the fourteen defeat to Westmeath.

Once a booming entity, the Offaly hurling miracle of the 1980s and 1990s suddenly feels like ancient history. The pace of their decline has really quickened since 2014.

950 people - some of them even from Carlow - turned up to see the county team squeeze by the visitors by three points in O'Connor Park. In the circumstances, they were grateful for the win but it wouldn't convince any pundits that the revival is imminent.

What Offaly needed was a root and branch review of everything that was wrong with hurling in the county and a plan to rectify it.

It turned out they already had one.

A mysterious report 'Pathway', an overall review of the state of hurling development in the county, was completed in December 2014.

The review committee was chaired by Liam Hogan, a member of the All-Ireland winning team of 1981. Diarmuid Healy was originally the chair but he withdrew in late 2014. Healy was the manager of the All-Ireland winning teams of the 1980s and the director of hurling in Dublin during the noughties whose work paved the way for their recent ascension to the front rank of hurling.

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Healy was the manager of the All-Ireland winning teams of the 1980s and the director of hurling in Dublin during the noughties whose work paved the way for their recent ascension to the front rank of the game.

They were anxious to publish straight away but were told to hold off until the football review was completed. With little happening, they eventually presented the report to the county board in April 2015.

The county board have done precisely nothing since. Hogan expressed his exasperation to Midlands 103.

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Our committee spent eighteen months working on this. We met once if not twice a week, often late into the night. We brought in Dr. Aine McNamara, head of Sport Science at the University of Central Lancashire, a woman who has been at the core of the Limerick plan 'Lifting the Treaty', whose father is a Tullamore man.

We were ready to publish in December 2014 but we were asked to hold off because the footballers were also preparing their own review. The county board wanted to put both plans to delegates together.

Then when nothing was happening we eventually put together a final draft in March 2015 and it was put to the county board on April 1 2015. But nothing has happened since.

The document details the failings at underage level within the county. For instance, the county has come anywhere near close enough to meeting the recommended ratio of coaches to players at underage level.

This tallies with the failings outlined by former All-Ireland winning full forward Padraig Horan in his conversation with Balls.ie last week.

When the report surfaced this week, there was considerable bemusement and not a little outrage (at least among those who care) that the document had been concealed for so long.

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Now, Hogan just wants to see the report published. This season's Leinster championship has made it a rather urgent matter. He's prepared to forget about it being withheld for so long if they can just adopt it fully now.

I’m hoping that we get to sit down to review this document. There is no point in pointing fingers at anyone.

I’m not here to apportion blame to Offaly County Board or anybody else. Let’s draw a line in the sand, let’s take this plan forward.

If it needs to be amended, let’s do that. Let’s sit around a table as mature adults and have an open and honest discussion about it and see how it can be moved forward.

Daithi Regan will give the Offaly county board no rest until they properly demonstrate their determination to revive hurling in the county.

He appeared on Off the Ball tonight.

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Two days ago, Offaly county secretary Tommy Byrne gave his verdict on the media commentary to the Irish Examiner.

Some of the lads giving out don’t even know what’s going on. They’re collecting fees on radio stations and papers, not even at any of these matches.

Of Regan, Byrne said 'that's the way he wants to be... you can't stop a fella talking'.

Read more: 'I'd Fear We Could Drop Off The Radar' - An Offaly Hurling Legend Ponders Shocking Decline

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