Former Taoiseach Brian Cowen is the high-profile mediator in crunch talks between the Offaly county board and members of the recently resigned hurling review/implementation committee. 

It emerged last month that the group agitating for change, and chaired by former Ballyboden St Enda’s manager Liam Hogan, stepped down en masse – with the blame for their departures laid firmly at the county board’s door.

Hogan revealed that ‘total frustration’ led to the move, which looked to have spelled the end for a committee set up in 2014.

Hogan’s main source of frustration lay with the apparent lack of movement to implement key suggestions from the review group, which contains other high-calibre members including former county players Brian Carroll, David Kenny and Michael Verney.

In a statement released at the start of this month, the Offaly county board insisted that it remains committed to the ‘hurling pathway plan’ and was asking group members to reconsider their decisions.

The way was paved for mediation and Cowen, a renowned Offaly GAA follower, is the high-profile figure who has agreed to step in to oversee negotiations between both parties.

The first meeting was due to take place last evening, and it’s understood that five club chairpersons were also due to be in attendance at the new Faithful Fields Centre of Excellence in Kilcormac.

Details of those talks, and whether any common ground can be found between the county board and Hogan’s group, could emerge later today.

But in a stinging overview of the Offaly board last month, Hogan publicly called for the resignation of chairman Tommy Byrne, describing him as an "absolute disaster."