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Alan Mulhall pictured at the launch of the Leinster GAA Bord Na Mona series.

Alan Mulhall pictured at the launch of the Leinster GAA Bord Na Mona series.

Alan Mulhall is still enjoying the game

By Cian O'Connell

Alan Mulhall is still keeping the faith, excited ahead of another campaign with Offaly.

Under new manager Stephen Wallace Offaly face Wexford at O'Connor Park in the Bord Na Mona O'Byrne Cup on Saturday.

Mulhall has been impressed by the backroom team that has been formed by the highly regarded Kerry native. "Very vibrant, very energetic, really mad for progress in a very professional set-up," Mulhall says.

"There's a good Kerry influence there's Stephen, then there's Billy (Sheehan) and we've Brendan Kealy doing the goalkeeping coaching with us so there's a big influence."

Working with former Kerry custodian Kealy has been enjoyable according to Mulhall. "Very good," Mulhall responds. "Everything we do with Brendan is very game specific. "Even goalkeeping fitness work is game specific as well. It's all Gaelic Football orientated every time so it's really good stuff.

"He's only six months out of it I suppose really. Everything he's doing he has a focus to it. He's working towards what he wants to see during the summer and the League."

The role of the goalkeeper has altered significantly during the past decade. "It's changed massively," Mulhall acknowledges.

"Now you're launching every attack. You're looking for primary possession, you're not just trying to kick-out as far as you can.

"I was sub goalie to Padraic Kelly in 2002 so we were still kicking it out from the corner of the square I think it was.

"Now it's changed, everything is getting possession and the further out the field you can get the possession the better."

The Allianz Football League will be crucial for Offaly, who want to earn promotion from Division Three. "It's massive, the League is massive," Mulhall states.

"There's no-one in Division Three or Four because they're not meant to be. You're there because of the standard you're at at the minute. We believe we're good enough to get up and that's what we're focusing on.

"I don't like the talk of consolidating positions or 'we'll stay safe.' Every time I go out to play for Offaly I just want to try to win matches and I want to play at as high a level as possible."

At 35 years of age Mulhall, North Leinster GAA Games Manager, continues to derive pleasure from representing Offaly. "Yeah it's very enjoyable, it's all football orientated," Mulhall admits.

"We're working very hard, but everything is football orientated the whole way through and it's very enjoyable.

"I wouldn't be doing it if I didn't enjoy it. I'm 35 years of age now and I definitely think I've something to offer and I just enjoy it and love playing with Offaly."

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