Offaly club hurling managerial merry-go-round

KILCORMAC/Killoughey have appointed Pat Joe Whelahan as their new senior hurling manager and they'll be hoping that 'The Little Man' with the Midas touch can weave his magic and lead them to an historic first SHC title.

KILCORMAC/Killoughey have appointed Pat Joe Whelahan as their new senior hurling manager and they'll be hoping that 'The Little Man' with the Midas touch can weave his magic and lead them to an historic first SHC title.

Pat Joe's track record is phenomenal and he ironically replaces Johnny Pilkington, the legendary Birr and Offaly mid-fielder that won many of his honours under Pat Joe's stewardship.

K/K unsuccessfully contested the county finals of 2002, '07 and '09 and indeed it was Pat Joe who plotted their downfall in two of those reversals – '02 & '07.

Pat Joe managed St Rynagh's when they won the Sean Robbins Cup in 1990, while as Birr supremo they were All-Ireland club champions three times (1998, 2002 & '03), Leinster champions five times (1997, '99, 2001, '02 & '07), Offaly SHC winners on eight occasions (1997, '99, 2000, '01, '02, '03, '07 & '08) and IHC winners on four occasions (1997, '98, '99 & '07).

Pat Joe was Offaly senior & U-21 manager in 1989, winning provincial titles and he was also key to the minor set up that year, as Offaly won their third Leinster and All-Ireland MHC titles inside four years. Pat Joe was minor manager in 1986 & '87 when Leinster and All-Ireland titles were annexed.

He previously managed Limerick senior hurlers and enjoyed considerable success during his spells with Toomevara and Nenagh Eire Og.

Pat Joe certainly brings a wealth of experience with him to the K/K hot seat and his selectors will be Seamus Gleeson (who was K/K manager in '02) and James Buckley. K/K has been knocking on the door of a senior breakthrough and they'll be hoping that Pat Joe is the missing ingredient in their winning recipe.

Three of Pat Joe's sons – Brian, Simon and Barry - have been mainstays and loyal servants to Birr throughout the past two decades and it will be very interesting next year should a Birr versus K/K clash materialise in the SHC.

Of course with the AGM season in full swing, so too is the managerial merry-go-round and Pat Joe's appointment isn't the only high profile one on the Offaly hurling scene.

1981 and '85 All-Ireland SHC medal winner Joachim Kelly will be taking the reins with Shinrone.

In 2010 Shinrone were quarter-finalists, bowing out to eventual champions Coolderry, and during the group series of the SHC they should have overcame Birr and possibly K/K, so they'll be hoping to build on that strong showing.

In Michael Cordial, Derek 'Del' Morkan and Eddie Bevans they've fine performers and coupled with the emergence of underage stars such as twins Michael & Sean Cleary, Shane McKelvey and Donal 'Duck' Morkan, the charismatic Joachim will feel he has the nucleus of a decent team capable of challenging for honours.

Joachim was named as Camogie Manager of the Year for 2010 after leading Offaly to Gala All-Ireland Intermediate Championship success and in '09 he guided Offaly to All-Ireland junior honours. He is remaining at the helm with the camogie side as they prepare for a first senior campaign.

Joachim previously managed Westmeath and Wexford senior hurlers and he was also an Offaly senior selector. He was player / trainer with his native Lusmagh and also had a spell in charge of Kilcormac/Killoughey. Joachim will bring swathes of enthusiasm to the Shinrone job and if the players respond accordingly, then they will improve.

Kilruane MacDonagh's club man Dinny Cahill who was in charge of Antrim hurlers earlier this year when they pushed Offaly all the way in the Leinster SHC quarter-final at Parnell Park is taking over as St Rynagh's coach.

Aidan Fogarty was manager of the Shannonsiders for the past few seasons and it is hard to be believe that it is now 1993 since St Rynagh's were last county champions. Cahill is highly regarded in his native Tipperary having been at the helm of county sides and he is no stranger to the Offaly hurling scene either as he previously managed Coolderry.

St Rynagh's will be hoping that Cahill can help their younger players that have developed a winning habit at underage level in recent years to translate this to senior glory. St Rynagh's have been in every Offaly MHC Final since 2004 and are minor champions for the past two years so there is no shortage of talent at Cahill's disposal.

Former Seir Kieran manager and current Offaly minor selector Mick Mulrooney has been appointed as Lusmagh boss.

While there has been a change in the managerial set up of reigning county champions Coolderry. Ken Hogan is still manager and his two selectors will be Mick Murray and David Dooley. Dooley replaces 1994 All-Ireland Final goal scoring hero Pat O'Connor.