Offaly football manager John Maughan. Photo: Ger Rogers.

Maughan guarded on future plans as Offaly crash out

Offaly senior football manager John Maughan was non-committal about his future in the role following last Sunday's heavy defeat to Westmeath.

The vastly experienced Mayo man said he would speak to Offaly GAA chairman Michael Duignan before any decisions would be made.

Having dealt with some questions about the Tailteann Cup semi-final defeat to Westmeath (3-22 to 2-16), it was inevitable that Maughan would be asked about his future intentions.

"I won't be answering that question this evening out of respect," said Maughan, who has completed four years in charge of Offaly.

"It's the county chairman that appointed me. It's him that I'll be chatting to over the next couple of days.

"I don't know. Very often these decisions are made for you," he added with a rueful smile.

Reflecting on the game itself, Maughan said: "We were comprehensively beaten by a much superior Westmeath side, who were very strong physically. There's no doubt that we were struggling in most lines and we got overrun from the get-go.

"At half-time it was just a question of playing for pride and respect for the jersey. It’s a different type of conversation you have when you go into the half-time break seven or eight points down. It was a difficult afternoon.”

One of the positives from the wreckage of last Sunday's display is that Offaly's substitutes contributed 1-5 to the scoreboard between them. On another day, such an impact from the bench could have been decisive, but Offaly were always playing catch-up.

Dylan Hyland was the first sub introduced and he made a notable impact, scoring 0-3, while Cathal Flynn fired home a superb consolation goal. In addition, fellow subs Mark Abbott and Jack McEvoy scored a point each.

Maughan said the impact made by the likes of Hyland and Flynn was "very encouraging". He also felt another young player, Keith O'Neill "battled away very well". Indeed, O'Neill was Offaly's top scorer from open play with 1-2.

In mitigation for the overall display, Offaly were without several likely starters last weekend, with the cruciate ligament injury sustained by Rhode stalwart Niall Darby an additional blow during the build-up.

"When you take Peter Cunningham, Eoin Carroll, Cian Farrell, Eoin Rigney and more, it's been difficult in a dual county like Offaly,” said Maughan. “You need everyone because the playing pool is small. You'd love to have more talent coming through and more competition for places, but the reality is that it takes a bit of time and we're just not there yet.”

The Offaly manager has been a firm supporter of the Tailteann Cup as a concept and his views haven't been altered by the nature of last Sunday's defeat.

"You've got to experience ugly days in order to appreciate the good days, whenever they come and if they come. I’m very much in favour of the Tailteann Cup for tier-two counties. There was a cracking game of football between Sligo and Cavan today, though I only saw snippets of it.

"Despite the fact that we got a heavy defeat today, we did win three games in the Tailteann Cup and we got a bounce out of that and a feel good factor.

"I thought it was good. The likes of those young players coming back into Croke Park again; it's the theatre of dreams for young players. The experience and lead-up to it was enjoyable.

"I'm very much in favour of the Tailteann Cup. I hope it's retained. There is a place for it and I think you'll have competitive games. I think we'll have a good final,” said Maughan.

Pointing out that it will be early next year before Offaly play a competitive match again, Maughan said it was "fantastic" that young players got game time in the inaugural competition.