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GAA | Joachim Kelly takes over Offaly hurlers

Joachim Kelly has taken over as interim manager of the Offaly hurlers.

Kelly replaces the under-fire Kevin Martin, who has stepped down from leading the senior side after consecutive defeats in the Joe McDonagh Cup.

Martin - a legendary hurler for Offaly in his playing days - became manager of the hurlers last year.

It has been a difficult period for the Leinster county, who were relegated from the Liam MacCarthy Cup last year and from Division 1 in the Allianz League in the spring of this year.

To make matters worse, the Faithful County could now suffer automatic relegation to the third tier of the Championship.

Offaly have lost their first two matches in the Joe McDonagh Cup to Laois and Westmeath respectively, and have just two games to turn things around.

The chastening 13-point defeat to Westmeath has proven to be Martin's last game in charge.

Kelly's brief will be to avoid the unthinkable, and he will take charge for the upcoming must-win clash against Antrim in Tullamore on Saturday. 

The county who finish bottom of the pile will be automatically relegated to the Christy Ring Cup, and Offaly currently occupy that precarious position in the standings.

"Following on from an Offaly GAA Management Committee meeting tonight, Kevin Martin & his management team have been replaced as the current senior hurling management with immediate effect," a statement from the Offaly County Board read. 

"The committee would like to thank Kevin and his team for their commitment and effort over the last two years.

"Survival in the Joe McDonagh Cup competition in 2019 is essential for the long-term development of hurling in the county.

"To this end Joachim Kelly has been appointed by the management committee as interim manager to the end of this year’s Joe McDonagh Cup competition.

"We wish Joachim and his team the best of luck in the upcoming games."

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