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12th Mar 2023

GAA in mourning after sudden passing of Offaly manager Liam Kearns

Patrick McCarry

Kearns led Tipperary to the All-Ireland semi-finals in 2016.

The GAA community has been rocked by the sad passing of Offaly senior football manager Liam Kearns, at the age of 61.

Kearns, who appeared for Austin Stacks and Kerry (in league and challenge matches) in his playing days, passed away on Sunday after a short illness.

The Kerry native, who worked for many years with An Garda Síochána, previously managed Limerick, Tipperary and Laois. He led Limerick to two Munster finals, during his time with the Treaty County, and helped Tipp reach their first All-Ireland semi-final in 116 years, back in 2016.

Kearns was a retired Garda sergeant and a clubman with Austin Stacks. A statement from Offaly GAA reads:

‘We are devastated to learn of the sudden passing this evening of our senior football manager, Liam Kearns.

‘In his short period of time as manager of the senior footballers, Liam made a hugely positive impact and he was extremely well respected by everyone associated with Offaly GAA.

‘Offaly GAA extend deepest sympathies to his wife Angela and daughters Rachel & Laura. May he rest in peace.’

Liam Kearns
Liam Kearns in a huddle with his Tipperary players after they lost the 2016 All-Ireland semi-final to Mayo, at Croke Park. (Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile)

Liam Kearns was known as a great man motivator

Liam Kearns took over from John Maughan as Offaly senior football manager, late last year, and the Faithful County were looking good in Division 3 of the Allianz League, under his stewardship.

Back in 2017, the Tralee native was the subject of much praise after the deeds his Tipperary team achieved. ‘In the current GAA climate,’ wrote Niall McIntyre, ‘Liam Kearns is a rarity and a gem. He is a beacon of hope in the modern game that is caught up in a trend of professionalism and sport science.

‘He doesn’t treat his players like children, and respects the fact that they have lives outside of football.

‘Undoubtedly, his Tipperary team train as hard as any other current inter-county teams but the difference between Kearns and some other managers is that he realises that his players are also young men who are living the most enjoyable years of their lives.

‘He feels the psychological benefits of team bonding through drinking or having the craic outweighs the supposed scientific negatives… His team appear to have built a brotherhood on the back of this attitude.’

“I want them to celebrate after a game,” Kearns once said of his players. “I want them to enjoy it and that’s our philosophy and that’s where it comes from.”

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