IT will be an afterthought on the round up on the Sunday Game next weekend but for the Offaly footballers this weekend’s game with Tipperary is of huge significance in the rebuilding process.
Despite making a spirited start against Kildare, Offaly were out classed by the Lilywhites and it showed just how far Offaly have dropped off the pace in recent years.
This has been one of the worst ever years for Offaly football and while a win over Tipperary would not suddenly erase the disappointment of the last six months, it would be a much needed win for a team whose confidence is on the floor.
Preparations for the Kildare game were hampered with a number of players just returning from injury including Niall McNamee who had recovered from a groin injury.
The game against Kildare will stand to the players who were struggling for match fitness and in the intervening two weeks considerable work has been done to get the players right for the game.
Tipperary defeated Offaly in the last game in the league which dragged the Faithful County down to Division 4 with them. Offaly were the better team that day but just didn’t have the belief to push on and win the game.
If they can turn that result around this weekend, it will clearly show that progress has been made.
Meanwhile the hurlers received the toughest possible draw when GAA President Liam O’Neill drew them to face Cork.
In a convoluted process, the two teams in the pots from Leinster and Munster had to be kept apart and when the draw was made, Offaly were unfortunate to be drawn against Cork and even more unfortunate when they were drawn away for the second succesive year.
In the football qualifiers Offaly were drawn at home but lost the home draw due to the fact that Tipperary were away last year yet in the hurling, Offaly are forced to play away to the same team for a second succesive year. Nothing like a bit of consistency from the GAA.