Donal Óg Cusack has questioned Offaly's status as a traditionally strong hurling county and labelled influential figures in hurling within the county as "voices of regression". 

Offaly slipped into Division 2 of the National League after a one-point loss to Carlow in Tullamore this afternoon, the latest landmark in their long decline since the glory days of the 1980s and 1990s. 

While many pundits voiced regret at the continuing decline of a 'traditional county', Cusack took a different tack, suggesting that a perusal of the history books indicates that Offaly may in fact be simply hovering around their natural habitat.  

Essentially, the three-time All-Ireland winner argued that Offaly's current struggles do not constitute an aberration.

Rather, it was their remarkable success of the 80s and 90s that was the aberration.  

"Every game for Offaly seems to carry the 'make or break' headline," Cusack said on League Sunday. 

" A lot of it is based on them being a 'traditional county'. But what is the tradition of Offaly? 

"Outside of the two decades of the 1980s and 90s, Offaly have only one Leinster Under-21 title. They've achieved zero in every other decade.

"It gives me no pleasure - I always associate Offaly with great hurling and that lovely, unique style - but I could be argued that Offaly have gone back to their mean and what has been their tradition over the last hundred years. 

"The second thing I'd say is, the pool is very small. I'd say Imokilly, who won the Cork title last year, have a bigger pick than Offaly."

Cusack then proceeded to call out certain "influencers" within Offaly who he felt had consistently positioned themselves as "regressive voices" within the game and were holding the county back. 

"And the third point I'd make, and this is just my feeling, some of the loudest voices, and what you might consider the biggest influencers in Offaly over the last number of years, when it comes to tactical innovations they always seem to be the voices of regression. 

"If there's been tactical innovations, some of the loudest voices in Offaly were always resisting those tactical innovations. 

"I think those voices of regression, if they were given another brain, they'd be twice the voice of regression.

"Those are the three main points I'd make, the tradition, what is the Offaly tradition?

"Secondly, you need to accept the size of the county.

"But thirdly, I think some influential voices have not been helping the Offaly cause to stay with the trends and stay with the times."