Martin Murphy... stepping down as Offaly manager. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Murphy confirms departure from Offaly manager role

Martin Murphy has released a statement confirming that he will not be continuing as Offaly senior football manager for the 2024 season.

Murphy was appointed as Offaly manager in March of this year, following the sudden death of Liam Kearns.

The Gracefield man had been previously appointed as an Offaly selector, having enjoyed considerable success with Portarlington, guiding the club to three Laois senior football titles.

Murphy led Offaly to a notable victory over Meath in this year's Leinster SFC and his charges went on to almost reach the final, losing out after extra-time to Louth in the semi-final.

However, Offaly failed to make an impression in the Tailteann Cup, their only win in the second tier competition coming against London, and they bowed out with a disappointing home defeat to Wexford.

Offaly will compete in Division 3 of the Allianz Football League again next year.

In response to Murphy's statement, Offaly GAA chairperson Michael Duignan said he respected his decision and the process to appoint a new manager is now underway.

Mr Duignan said that Offaly GAA was delighted when Murphy initially agreed to join Liam Kearns’ management team as a selector, especially after his "tremendous" success as manager of Portarlington.

“Then, when Liam Kearns passed away suddenly, Martin stepped up to the mark at what was a very difficult time for everyone involved with the Offaly footballers. We in Offaly GAA were very thankful for his dedication to the team subsequently, which resulted in some great performances in the Leinster Senior Football Championship,” Mr Duignan said.

“Martin Murphy is very well regarded throughout Offaly and I wish him and his family all the best for the future.”

Martin Murphy’s statement is as follows:

“Following recent media print speculation that Offaly would likely seek a new football manager, as a review of management teams commenced, I wish to state the following:

"I became a selector and part of Liam Kearns’s management team in October 2022. Following Liam’s sudden passing on the 12th of March, 2023 (RIP), I was asked to step into the manager role.

"The aftermath of Liam’s sudden death was a challenging and emotional time, and it profoundly affected the players and the management team for some time afterwards. Despite the unexpected and traumatic loss of Liam, the players and management endeavoured to give it our very best for the remainder of the year.

"Several weeks ago, I met with the chairman of the County Board, Michael Duignan, to discuss and review the past year.

"We discussed the targets we had set for ourselves as a team at the beginning of the year.

"As it transpired, 2023 proved to be Offaly’s most successful Leinster championship campaign in sixteen years. The team played some outstanding football, beating Longford and Meath and reaching the Leinster semi-final against Louth in Croke Park, only to lose after extra time.

"Disappointingly, our performance in the Tailteann Cup competition differed from what we had hoped for or expected. Despite qualifying for the preliminary quarter-final, we exited the competition losing to Wexford in Tullamore.

"The team played nineteen games since January 7th, sixteen of which were competitive; all games were condensed into twenty-four weeks.

"The chairman asked if I was interested in remaining in the position for 2024. I explained to him that I felt extremely privileged and proud to have been allowed to manage my own county. Unfortunately, due to circumstances outside of my control, I am not in a position to be able to give the necessary 100% commitment required to manage the team, and I will not be remaining on as the manager for 2024.

"I want to thank the players for their hard work, the massive effort and the support they gave me throughout the year. I thank the management and backroom team for their time and expertise and their excellent work in preparing the team, the selectors/coaches, the S&C coaches, the analysts, the physiotherapists, the doctor, kit men, the catering staff and the team secretary.

"Many thanks to Faithful Fields and Glenisk O’Connor Park staff, who were always extremely helpful and courteous and were a pleasure to deal with.

"It was amazing to be part of and witness the joy the team brought to the Offaly supporters this year, especially the scenes following our quarter-final win against Meath in Tullamore and the many supporters who travelled to Croke Park. To all Offaly supporters, thank you.

"I want to sincerely thank Michael Duignan and the officers of the County Board for their support and for allowing me to manage this team; I am truly grateful and deeply honoured. Finally, I wish the players and incoming management team a successful 2024.”