Leo O’Connor to take charge of Offaly U20 Hurlers

The appointment was ratified on Monday night with a new management teams for the Offaly Senior, U20 and Minor squads.

After guiding the Offaly minors to an All-Ireland final earlier this year, Leo O’Connor is set to take charge of the county’s U20s in 2023.

Yesterday Johnny Kelly was proposed as the new Senior manager and O’Connor is to be promoted to the U20s with his backroom team of Johnny Pilkington, Martin Cashen and Hughie Hannon.

Earlier this year, Offaly were the story of the Minor Championship as they ended a 22-year wait for provincial honours when they defeated Laois in the Leinster final.

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Offaly went on to reach the All-Ireland final but were downed in the final moments by a last minute Tipperary goal.

Talking to RTÉ Sport following his appointment to the U20s, O’Connor spoke of his disappointment at the result in the minor final.

For about a month after that final I wanted to hibernate, to be honest. The way we lost the final was tough to take.

“So, for the next month I just kept to myself. But the game draws you back in. After that I really enjoyed going back to club matches. I enjoyed the tail-end of watching my own county win the All-Ireland senior final. I live in Tipp, so I caught club matches there too and in Limerick. I went to watch games in Offaly as well, all the time watching different things and learning different things.

“And you’d pick up lots. The club game is now like senior inter-county was years ago, everything has pushed on to a different level.”

But for O’Connor, attention will now shift to the remainder of the Offaly club championship as he begins to plan his assault on the Leinster U20 championship.

Offaly’s wait for honours at the grade also stretch back 22 years, with just three final appearances in that time, the most recent coming in 2016.

O’Connor has previous at this grade, guiding Limerick to a first Munster U21 title in nine years when the Kevin Downes captained side defeated Cork in the Gaelic Grounds in 2011.

As a player, O’Connor lined out for Limerick in the 1994 All-Ireland final loss to Offaly.

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