Offaly senior hurler Oisin Kelly.
A 36 strong panel has been selected for Offaly senior hurlers ahead of the National Hurling League. While the panel remains open, manager Michael Fennelly and selectors are likely to work with these 36 players for the coming weeks.
The National Hurling League starts on May 8 with a trip to Navan to face Meath and Offaly have a busy schedule of league and championship games.
There is significant changes on the panel from last year when Offaly were beaten by Down in the Christy Ring Cup semi-final. Cillian Kiely, outstanding in the heart of defence last year, has opted out for personal reasons while his younger brother Cathal Kiely is also not on the panel as he deals with an injury problem.
Cathal Kiely, a free scoring player for Offaly U-20s last year, is one of the brightest prospects in the county but some of his U-20 colleagues have made the step up: St Rynagh's Luke O'Connor, Padraig Cantwell of Shamrocks and goalkeeper Eamon Cleary (Shinrone).
St Rynagh's goalkeeper Conor Clancy has returned to the panel while other additions include: John Murphy and Aaron Maher (Ballinamere), Jordan Quinn (Kilcormac/Killoughey), Eimhin Kelly (Lusmagh), Podge Guinan (Drumcullen), Rory Carty and Dylan Watkins (both Birr).
A mixture of personal and work reasons saw other players opt out late last year, including: Shinrone's Sean Cleary, Dan Doughan and Michael Cleary, Andy Flynn (Lusmagh), Brendan Murphy (Birr), Seir Kieran's Kevin Dunne, Kinnitty's James Dempsey and Shamrocks' David O'Toole-Greene.
Players were given their own training programmes while collective training was prohibited but full on field work returned last week and will continue unless new restrictions come into play.
Offaly will play Sligo in the Christy Ring Cup later in the year and Michael Fennelly is delighted with the commitment, drive and ambition of the 36 players they have selected. “We have a bunch of 36 players who are really committed and ambitious. They have a lot of drive to be better and to do better. That is a good starting point, whether youy are in the Liam McCarthy, Joe McDonagh or Christy Ring Cup,” the former Kilkenny star said.
The full Offaly panel is: Aaron Maher (Ballinamere), Adrian Hynes (Seir Kieran), Aidan Treacy (St Rynagh's), Ben Conneely (St Rynagh's), Brian Duignan (Durrrow), Brian Watkins (Birr), Ciaran Burke (Durrow), Colm Gath (Drumcullen), Conor Clancy (St Rynagh's), Conor Langton (Clodiagh Gaels), Damien Egan (Belmont), David King (Coolderry), David Nally (Ferbane), Dylan Watkins (Birr), Eamon Cleary (Shinrone), Eimhin Kelly (Lusmagh), Eoghan Cahill (Birr), Jason Sampson (Shinrone), Joey Keenaghan (Clodiagh Gaels), John Murphy (Ballinamere), Jordan Quinn (Kilcormac/Killoughey), Killian Sampson (Shinrone), Liam Langton (Clodiagh Gaels), Leon Fox (Belmont), Luke O'Connor (St Rynagh's), Oisin Kelly (Belmont), Paddy Delaney (Kinnitty), Paddy Rigney (Kinnitty), Pauric Cantwell (Shamrocks), Peter Geraghty (Kilcormac/Killoughey), Podge Guinan (Drumcullen), Rory Carty (Birr), Ross Ravenhill (Durrow), Shane Dooley (Tullamore), Shane Kinsella (Kinnitty), Stephen Corcoran (Coolderry).