The GAA world is in mourning after the sudden death of Offaly football manager Liam Kearns at the age of 61.

The Tralee native took over as Faithful boss from John Maughan last August, with the county currently in the mix for promotion from Division 3

At inter-county level, Kearns previously managed Limerick, Laois and Tipperary, guiding the latter to an All-Ireland semi-final appearance in 2016.

His playing career saw him win an All-Ireland minor medal with Kerry in 1980, before being involved in the county's U-21 and senior panels.

A retired Garda sergeant, Kearns was a member of the Austin Stacks club, with whom he won a Kingdom senior championship in 1986.

A statement from Offaly GAA read: "Offaly GAA is 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."

In paying tribute, Kerry GAA tweeted a statement paying tribute to "a GAA great, and a proud Austin Stacks man".

On RTE's Allianz League Sunday, Liam Sheedy and Dónal Óg Cusack also paid their tributes to Liam Kearns, with Sheedy saying that "it's a huge blow to the GAA family".

Offaly GAA chairperson and two-time All-Ireland winning hurler Michael Duignan offered his condolences to Kearns' family and told RTÉ's Morning Ireland that the county was "devastated" and in "deep shock".

"He was up training with us yesterday, in great form. It's just hard to believe," he said.

"I'd admired him from a distance with the great job that he had done. He was with Laois, Limerick and Tipperary and done a massive job with limited resources and had some great success.

"And just from the first time I met him, he drove up to the Faithful Fields to meet me maybe last July and the minute I met him I knew he was the right man for the job.

"Straight talker, he knew his football, he was very organised and ambitious. He had retired from the Guards as sergeant in the Gardaí and he said something to me, 'I want to get this right because this is my last job' and we didn't think it was going to end like this."

Duignan added that Kearns had developed a huge love for Offaly and was held in high regard by his players.

"One of the lads text me last night, Rory McNamee, and he just said he had the dressing room in a chokehold since he took over and that says it all really."

Kearns' club Austin Stacks also spoke of their shock upon hearing the news.

"Over the years Liam has continued to support his beloved Austin Stacks and maintained close contact with his former club team mates attending many social functions in the club down through the years.

"We extend sincere sympathy to all Liam's family and friends on his untimely passing."