Two Offaly club stars hit out at county panel exclusion
Two forwards have gone public this week to voice their disappointment at their exclusion from the Offaly senior football panel.
Ferbane's Joe Maher and Daingean's Shane Tierney both stated that they wanted to be on the panel but were not asked in by Maughan and his selectors Gerry O'Malley (Ferbane) and Kevin Guing (Edenderry). Another forward Nigel Dunne (Shamrocks) was also not asked to join the panel this year, after walking away following a clash with Maughan during last season.
Outstanding for Ferbane as they ended a 25-year famine by winning the Senior Football Championship last year, Maher was not invited back onto the Offaly senior football panel by manager John Maughan and selectors this year.
He had been asked in towards the end of 2018 after the Mayo man was initially appointed as manager but declined to come in at that stage, citing study commitments. He subsequently asked to get back in early in 2019 but was turned down in a short exchange of text messages between the two.
Maher had hoped to join the panel this year but was not asked in, leading to a campaign of sorts among some Ferbane supporters about his exclusion.
With John Moloney injured, Niall McNamee not recovered from a head injury sustained in Rhode's Senior Football Championship semi-final defeat by Clara and Peter Cunningham out of the country on army duty, Offaly have been short of attacking options in their games to date – they lost to Cork in their opening National Football League Division 3 game and drew with Longford last Sunday. They play Louth away in a crunch game this Sunday.
Now it has prompted Maher and Tierney to go public to voice their discontent. Maher issued a statement on Twitter, stating: “Let's set the record straight, I was disappointed leaving O'Connor Park yesterday. On a daily basis, I am asked the question why haven't you gone into Offaly. The answer is I was never approached by Offaly manager John Maughan at the start of this year's campaign as other players were. I was very disappointed after the year I had with my club, Ferbane and winning our first county final in years.”
Maher explained that he contacted John Maughan through calls and texts to see if there was an issue and to try and resolve it. “My calls and texts were ignored,” he said, adding that he contacted then County Board chairman Tommy Byrne and was told the panel was finalised.
He wrote about not joining the panel when initially asked in 2018. “Going back to last year I was asked into the panel, doing a masters and commuting up and down to UL (University of Limerick) with late lectures etc, I said I could fully commit when on placement in mid-January to be told 'the panel has been finalised and best of luck in your sporting endeavour.' I have never heard a word from Maughan to this day.”
He concluded: “I want to make it clear I'm a proud Offaly man and look forward to captaining Ferbane this year and some day representing my county again.”
Tierney was on the panel last year and came to national prominence when footage of him kicking the ball away from a Sligo kickout in the dying moments of their win in their last league game. The win secured Offaly's status in Division 3 and Tierney subsequently tweeted a clip of the incident saying “this one's for the boys.” The incident led to a confrontation between Offaly and Sligo players and Tierney got a yellow card before the visitors held on for a nerve-tingling win.
A lively forward, skilful and with pace, Tierney featured occasionally last year but also fell out of favour for this year's panel. Speaking on Monday, he said: “All I ever wanted to do was play for Offaly. I rang John Maughan on 5/6 occasions in October to see what I needed to do to get more game time for the coming season and he never answered one of my calls. I was told by senior players he didn't have any time for me so I left the group chat and I haven't received one call/text from any member of management since.”
John Maughan stated on Monday evening that he would not be commenting on any player who is not on the panel.
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