Offaly’s Brian Carroll was a relieved man after his side avoided what would have been a disastrous relegation to the Allianz Hurling League Division 2.

Kerry pushed Brian Whelehan’s side, who were reduced to 14 men when Seán Cleary was sent off ten minutes into the second half, for most of the game before fading late on and losing by 3-19 to 0-14 in Semple Stadium.

And the Coolderry clubman admitted that the Division 2A champions were hard done by with the promotion/relegation system.

“We’d be the first to admit that Kerry should have come up,” Carroll told RTÉ Sport.

“I think the structure should be looked at. I think there’s only 14 or 15 strong hurling counties and I don’t see why everyone shouldn't be hurling in Division 1.”

On the other side, Kerry half-back Darragh O’Connell said they would just have to accept the way things were.

He said: “I suppose we won five out of five in the league and then we beat Carlow last Sunday in a great game here so we are disappointed that we’re not going up, playing at a higher level, that’s where we’d like to be really.

"But we don’t make the rules so we have to live with it.”

"We’d be the first to admit that Kerry should have come up" - Brian Carroll 

Offaly boss Brian Whelehan was glad to put the league campaign, where they only beat Antrim, behind them and was looking ahead to the 7 June clash with Kilkenny in Nowlan Park.

Speaking on RTÉ’s League Sunday, he said: “It would have been a disaster from the point of view to try and face into Kilkenny if things didn’t go well here this evening.

"Thankfully the league is over now. We have seven, eight weeks to concentrate on Kilkenny. Kilkenny are flying, they are all going for maybe Brian [Cody] and Henry [Shefflin] to get ten [All-Ireland titles].

“Thankfully we got a second chance and we came down and we took it and that’s the main thing.”