Offaly players were willing to play on under Stephen Wallace

Wallace was sacked on Wednesday evening

Justin Kelly


Justin Kelly


Offaly players were willing to play on under Stephen Wallace

The Offaly Express understands that the senior Offaly footballers were willing to play on under Stephen Wallace and his management team.of Billy Sheehan, Paul Mollen and Brendan Kealy despite mounting controversy.

The panel is understood to have submitted a collective statement to the county board meeting on Wednesday night stating that although they were disappointed with Sunday's loss to Wicklow, they were ready to get back to work for their first round qualifier on June 9 "under current management."

Kerry native Wallace and his backroom team were sacked on Wednesday night following severe online criticism from commentators and past players of the county, most notably from Clara GAA chairman and former All-Ireland hurling referee, Brian Gavin. 

The panel held a meeting on Wednesday and formed the statement amid suggestion that several panellists had walked away from the county set up and were refusing to play for Stephen Wallace.

The substitutions of Nigel Dunne and Sean Pender against Wicklow drew particular criticism although Dunne has admitted he had a sulk at half time but returned to the subs bench before the commencement of the second half, while Pender was removed from the game on the advice of the physio. 

Despite talk of a player walkout, the Offaly Express understands that all bar two players were on the pitch at Faithful Fields ready to train on Wednesday evening as speculation about Wallace's future mounted. One player had been given permission to attend a concert while the other was absent through work commitments. 

Shortly afterwards, Offaly GAA announced that Wallace had been removed from his post and that an interim manager would be sought for the rest of the season.