Sunday 18 March 2018

Basement bosses to grit teeth and battle on

THE two 'basement bosses' propping up the NFL Division Three table have vowed to carry on, despite speculation that they were on the verge of sudden spring exits.

Gerry Cooney will bring his labouring Offaly charges to Cavan on Sunday in pursuit of a first league point, while John Evans will do likewise as Tipperary travel to fellow strugglers Sligo on the same afternoon.

Cooney only took over the Offaly hotseat last November, but last Sunday's fourth consecutive league loss - a 1-21 to 2-5 collapse to Wexford in Tullamore - prompted feverish speculation that he was about to walk.

The former Meath footballer and Royal U21 boss spoke to his team afterwards, with players reportedly of the opinion that he was on the brink.

"There's no truth in the rumours that we offered our resignation after the Wexford match," Cooney has now declared.

"But we did consider and talk about a lot of things. In the aftermath of that game, we said we'd all have to think about it. There is a lot to be sorted out, no doubt about it. We had a long chat to review where we were going, but we will carry on."

It's known that Cooney still enjoys the support of county board chiefs while his Monday night meeting with fellow selectors James Stewart and Tony Kenny has cleared the way for management to continue.

Meanwhile, Evans has rubbished rumours that he was approached by the Tipp county board and asked to consider his position after their crushing 4-10 to 0-14 defeat at home to Cavan last Sunday.

"There's no problem - they still want me," laughed Evans. "I don't know where that came from. A lot of guys are disappointed but none more so than the team itself. We were without seven players the last day, six of them missing with injury and one through a bereavement. A county like Tipperary can't afford to be missing that amount of players, never mind one or two."

While the pressurised duo have committed to stay on, both face a daunting challenge to avoid relegation - the two counties are pointless and have been shipping a string of heavy defeats (Offaly's scoring difference is minus 38, Tipp's minus 29), with Sligo on two points their nearest rivals.

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