Why Offaly hurling's dire situation is "going to get worse"

Ex-Offaly hurler Michael Verney chats to Oisin Langan about the loss to Westmeath

Offaly, hurling

The Offaly team which faced Clare in the league ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

This time 20 years ago, Offaly were in between two All-Ireland Hurling title-winning campaigns.

But those days of winning the Liam McCarthy Cup in 1994 and 1998 feel further and further away these days.

At the weekend, the Offaly hurlers began their Leinster championship qualifier group stage with a heavy 2-22 to 1-11 loss to Westmeath at Cusack Park.

They still have fixtures against Carlow and Kerry to come in order to turn things around.

But former Offaly hurler Michael Verney of the Irish Independent  was not surprised by the Westmeath result as he joined our own Oisin Langan on the Rewind podcast to review the weekend's hurling.

"Unfortunately, from my own opinion, it wasn't that much of a surprise," he said.

"Laois beat us last year for the first time in 43 years, Kerry beat us in the league for the first time in God knows how long, Westmeath beat us this year and you can't keep getting beaten by these teams at under-21 and at minor. It's not just going to disappear when it comes to disappear. Eventually it is going to tell. Unfortunately, the level of neglect in Offaly towards development in the last 15-20 years is just stark." 

In terms of the neglect narrative, Michael points towards the grassroots as the key area to improve.

"The same level of coaching is not being done in schools, the same level of coaching unfortunately is not being done in clubs and then in regards to development squads in Offaly, development squads are kind of a 'here today, gone tomorrow' kind of a job. There's an emphasis on it at one stage and then there's not so much of an emphasis," he explained. 

He also added that: "People think Sunday was bad but whether people like it or not, it's going to get worse and people are going to see worse over the next five or ten years."

You can listen into Michael on Offaly and the Allianz Hurling League final draw on the Rewind podcast: