UíbhFhailí.com header image

[ Back to Articles Index ]

Offaly Chairman Michael Duignan pays tribute to Liam Kearns after sudden death

by Karl O'Kane was published in the Irish Mirror on Monday the 13th of March 2023

Offaly GAA Chairman Michael Duignan says the county’s players are deeply traumatised after the sudden passing of football manager, Liam Kearns at 61.

Kearns was “in great form” at Offaly training in their Faithful Fields base on Sunday morning, but died later that afternoon.

When Kearns first met Duignan last July at the Faithful Fields he told the Offaly All-Ireland winning hurler that this would be his last job in inter-county football.

Former Limerick, Tipperary and Laois manager, Kearns is survived by his wife Angela and daughters Rachel and Laura.

Duignan told Midlands 103: “I want to pass on our condolences on behalf of the GAA and particularly the rest of our management team and our players in particular, who are devastated this morning.

“To Angela, Rachel and Laura, whatever our loss is, theirs is obviously far greater.”

Duignan continued: “I suppose at inter-county you spend so much time together. You put in such an effort. You are one big family really.

“It is deeply traumatising for the players, the management teams and the back room team.

“We are talking this morning about a few things. You have to assess these things before you make any decisions.

“We don’t have any funeral arrangements or anything at this stage but we will be getting together with the panel and we will travel to Limerick together and show our respects to Liam and to his wife, kids and family.

“We will just take it from there. It is not going to be easy. We are not going to pretend it is. I don't have all the answers, I can tell you that.

“We will have to mind each other over the next few days.”

Kearns was a popular figure wherever he went and he had already gained a tight grip on the Offaly dressing room.

Duignan says: “One little story I think sums him up. One of our players who joined the panel when he came in was carrying a little bit of timber, as Liam would say - he was carrying a little bit of weight.

“Liam was encouraging him to lose it and he said he’d do it with him. He (Kearns) lost two and a half stone in the last couple of months. He was never in better shape.

“I think that shows his commitment to the team.

“There was a couple of players to lose a bit of weight and he rowed in with them and got stuck in.

“One of the players text me last night, Ruairi McNamee and he said he had the dressing room in a choke hold since he took over.

“I think that’s some tribute to him that he came in, brand new (with) some very young players and some very experienced players who had played under different managers.

“To just come in and make an impact in the way he did and the type of people he brought in around him.”

[ Back to Articles Index ]