Offaly's relegation from the Leinster SHC to the Joe McDonagh Cup stung the Faithful County, but it may prove a blessing in disguise. 

That's the opinion of Ger Loughnane and Brendan Cummins, who both believe this setback gives Offaly a golden opportunity to regroup and rebuild.

Dublin swept them aside 2-24 to 0-13 at Parnell Park to seal their fate on Sunday. 

Manager Kevin Martin afterwards said his team were "fatigued, physically fatigued, mentally fatigued... they are just in bits in there".

Although there'll be some inevitable soul searching in the county, both Loughnane and Cummins think this could be good for Offaly in the long run.

"The standard in the Joe McDonagh is fierce," said Cummins.

"If I'm an Offaly hurler, yes I'm disappointed that I'm relegated but at the same time there should be an opportunity.

"Next year Offaly will be in Division 1 of the league, and then they play in the Joe McDonagh. If they get to the final, the final is on in Croke Park before the Leinster hurling final. Then they play in a preliminary quarter-final.

"Now that's if they can get it going in the winter months again and prepare, but I don't see it as being a complete doomsday for Offaly. I see it as an opportunity to rebuild, get back to Croke Park and get back into the Championship another way."

Loughnane concurred, and said a positive approach to the step down is key.

"The perception they're making progress does not stand up to any kind of scrutiny, especially in the Championship. 

"They'll be playing as many matches in the Joe McDonagh Cup as they're playing now. They're now finished for the whole year, it's over for eight months. If they were in the Joe McDonagh Cup they'd be playing again next Sunday, they'd be playing on 1 July in Croke Park before the Leinster final in the Joe McDonagh Cup final.

"If they won that, if they're as good as they think they are, they'd be back in the MacCarthy Cup next year. The week later they'd play in a preliminary quarter-final.

"Isn't that a recipe for building a young team?

"This is a blessing for Offaly if they treat it as such. Self pity will get them nowhere."