OFFALY AND LAOIS have finally filled their senior hurling management posts, with Kevin Ryan and Eamonn Kelly set to take over the respective roles.
Ex-Carlow, Antrim and Tyrone supremo Ryan, a native of Waterford and a former Déise selector, will succeed Kelly as Offaly manager, and is set for ratification next week.
And Kelly, who vacated the Faithful County post after one year at the helm, is making the short hop across the border to step into the Laois hot-seat, with the O’Moore county board confirming his appointment tonight.
Kelly stepped down as Offaly manager in the wake of the All-Ireland SHC qualifier defeat to Wexford earlier this year, but the Kiladangan native from Tipperary has wasted no time in returning to the inter-county scene.
Laois GAA delighted to announce Tipperary native Eamonn Kelly as new Laois Senior Hurling Manager following tonight's County Board meeting. pic.twitter.com/HdGrkUA1aW
— Laois GAA (@CLGLaois) November 7, 2016
Source: Laois GAA/Twitter
Kelly has enjoyed considerable success in recent times, guiding Kerry to Christy Ring Cup glory in 2015 and also masterminded promotion to Division 1B of the Allianz Hurling League during his spell in charge of the Kingdom.
He took over Offaly for the 2016 season and while they suffered a shock defeat against Westmeath in the Leinster SHC round-robin series, Kelly turned the ship around and guided them to a Leinster semi-final, where they lost out to Galway.
Offaly’s season came to an end against Wexford but Kelly left with plenty of goodwill from his players, who regarded him as an extremely organised manager.
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He will assemble his backroom team in due course but in the meantime, he’s taking charge of his home club in the upcoming Tipperary junior A championship final against Ballybacon-Grange, who have Kelly’s former Kerry selector Brendan Cummins between the sticks.
Meanwhile, Ryan is preparing for his new role in charge of the Offaly senior hurlers, and is tipped to bring former Waterford star Paul Flynn with him as coach.
The make-up of Ryan’s backroom team should be known next Tuesday evening, when his name will be put forward for ratification by Offaly county board officials.
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