'Offaly jerseys have to be earned' - Hurling boss Fennelly ready for restart
Ahead of a return of championship action in Offaly this month, the Midland Tribune spoke to Offaly senior hurling boss Michael Fennelly.
The Club scene is kicking off in Offaly at the end of the month, are you looking forward to it?
“I’m really looking forward to the club championship and seeing as many games as possible over the coming months. It will be great to see our own panel of 35 players in action but also to see other Offaly club hurlers who are showing good form.
“It is my job and my management team to pick the best 30 plus club hurlers to represent Offaly at inter-county level. No player deserves the right to be on the panel, you have to earn it every time you train and play games with club or county.
“There may have been an outdated perception over the years on various inter-county teams that players have earned their right to be on the panel due to putting in time as a substitute for a number of years, but I don’t believe in that. You will only deserve to be playing, if you earn it and you will have to earn it week in and week out. It’s as simple as that.
“There’s no pressure on players to be putting in man of the match performances every game but there is an expectation of hard work and holding yourself to account for the standards we have set as a panel.”
So you will be looking at other players during the club games?
“There were a few players who were injured last November during the trial games and other players not available due to travel and work commitments. Those players and other players that we potentially haven’t seen yet will be looked at over these coming months.
“I would have no issue having a few players (based on performance in club games) on the panel or extended panel when we get back training in September. The new season (2021) wont be far away by the time 2020 season finishes so these club games will be very important to the club player who has ambitions to wear the Offaly jersey whether its 2020 or 2021.
“Injuries are always a concern and can be an opportunity for another player to stake their claim. That’s why I am such a big advocate for injury prevention and performing the necessary stability, core and activation exercises before every training session and also on days-off to keep your body as robust as possible.
“This takes commitment and motivation by a player who wants to give himself the best possible chance of playing.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the games and hopefully see a real competitive edge. The club is the key for potential success at inter-county level and that’s why I hope to support the clubs further down the line with my management and backroom team.”
See the Tullamore and Midland Tribune newspapers this week for the full interview with Michael Fennelly.