It's a sad day for the proud hurling county of Offaly, who have been relegated to the Christy Ring for 2020. In what has been a disastrous season for Offaly, their fate was confirmed this afternoon after a two-point loss to Kerry in Austin Stacks Park.
For a county who contested an All-Ireland final as recently as 2000, and won the Liam McCarthy cup in 1998, it has been a unbelievable fall from grace.
They entered today's game knowing that a win was needed in order to maintain their Joe McDonagh status, a result which would have relegated their opponents instead.
The buildup to the game was hardly the smoothest for Offaly. The announcement of their starting team for this game was met with raised eyebrows, as it featured a number of players who had not been involved with the panel up until this point.
Offaly manager Joachim Kelly decided to ring the changes ahead of their decisive game, bringing in a number of players who had not been involved in the panel for most of the year.
Four of the five players at midfield and half forward weren't on the panel a month ago. I know you should never pay too much heed to a team selection but if that's a bluff, it's a barely believable one. https://t.co/8xYI4VmmJ1
— Kevin Egan (@lonesharkoy) June 14, 2019
This is something that did not go down well with certain members of the Offaly support. Many questioned why Joe Bergin was not in the team, saying it was foolish to drop one of the biggest names in the team for their biggest game in almost 20 years.
Daithi Regan, the Offaly hurling legend, felt the current management team had treated some members of the panel very poorly by making such drastic late changes to the team.
Kevin Dunne, who had been a key member of the team in previous games, was dropped off the team. Regan was unhappy with this, and also the fact that he had not been informed in person.
Offaly will be playing in the Christy Ring next year, and it is no guarantee that they will win that competition.
There seems to be plenty of division within the county at the moment, and that issue will need to be resolved before they begin their road to recovery.