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Kevin Martin

Kevin Martin

Kevin Martin confident he can improve the Offaly hurlers

By John Harrington

Newly appointed Offaly hurling manager Kevin Martin is confident he can raise the team’s standards in 2018.

The Faithful County won just a single League match in 2017 and exited the championship after heavy defeats to Galway and Waterford.

Martin admits Offaly have been ‘painful’ to watch in recent years, but believes they have the wherewithal to improve.

“You're looking at your county, you want to see them improve,” he said. “And that's it: I'm going to try and improve things and that's basically why I'm gone in. It's been painful to look at for the last few years.

“I don't believe we're as bad as the last few years, so I think at least I can improve it anyway."

“I suppose we're all guilty of giving out about our own county team – and I would have been at it myself the last couple of years. And people were saying, 'Well, sure go do something about it.' Even my own family and that.

"Of course, it's always an honour to train your own county team anyway. A lot of work has to be done but, in fairness to the players, they're after buying into it now so far and hopefully, fingers crossed, things will look up."

Kevin Martin celebrates after helping Offaly defeat Kilkenny in the 1998 All-Ireland SHC Final.
Kevin Martin celebrates after helping Offaly defeat Kilkenny in the 1998 All-Ireland SHC Final.

Martin believes one of the first things he’ll have to work on is the battered self-confidence of his players.

"Yeah, that's one of the major things,” he said. “We're after getting a few thrashings over the last couple of years - and especially last year."

“I mean, I believe myself they're not as bad as they've shown the last couple of years. It's like everything else, it's all about confidence so you've to build their confidence and get them going again.

“But, you know, mentally it's half the battle. So we'll have to work on that big time."

Martin is the Offaly hurling team’s fourth manager in as many years. The two-time All-Ireland winner believes what’s needed now is some stability, but doesn’t know how long he’ll stay in the job himself.

“When you're changing managers that often, players would be getting sick of it as well,” he said. “They want a bit of consistency and they want a bit of stability.

“Listen, I've been asked this question, 'How long have you got?' We haven't really thrashed it out with the county board, so we'll see how this year goes.

“You know, maybe the players mightn't want me after this year; maybe they will; maybe the county board; maybe I won't want to stay here myself.

“We'll have to see. So, we're going to try and work as hard as we can to improve the thing; that's all we can do at the minute." 

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