Ryan: I knew there was more to come from Tipp’s class of 2010

Ryan: I knew there was more to come from Tipp’s class of 2010

Michael Ryan is encouraged by the youth development in Tipperary. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile1
Michael Ryan is encouraged by the youth development in Tipperary. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Even when he departed the scene last summer, Michael Ryan had no doubt there was more to come from Tipperary.

They had departed the championship at the earliest possible stage and from the outside looking in, it felt like the team that had blazed to glory in 2010 had run out of road.

But when Liam Sheedy sought out Ryan’s opinion before taking charge, Ryan left his friend in no doubt that there was more in the senior men.

“To start with the obvious, we were incredibly disappointed with how 2018 turned out,” Ryan remembers. “Not surviving to fight beyond the round-robin was really difficult for that Tipp team, and for me I just felt that it wasn’t the measure of where they were at. They have not regressed permanently to that.

“It was completely accurate for the time we were in, we didn’t win our games and didn’t deserve to go forward – end of. But it doesn’t describe the quality that was in that Tipp squad as far as I was concerned.

“Absolutely it needed change, we have seen the benefit of that change and also we didn’t know it at the time in June when we were knocked out that our U-21s would be so successful.

“If you take that squad, and some of them were involved with us, to win that All-Ireland U-21 against the head having suffered a pretty heavy defeat in a Munster final was really encouraging from a Tipp perspective.”

Tipp didn’t pull up trees in the league but looked to be back to their best in the early rounds of the championship until they were taken out by Limerick in the Munster final.

“We had delivered four really good games on the trot, and if anything Tipp looked like the form team in the country. To be well beaten by Limerick in a Munster final, it wasn’t a surprise to me that we were beaten but it was disappointing that we took a big beating,” added Ryan.

“And then in your next game you need to turn it around pretty quickly, you have no say about who the opposition is and in your mind you might think it will be A versus B and then you get something different.

“You are still looking for our guys to go out there and deliver a confirmation that we haven’t gone away or that we’re back on track, we just didn’t see it.

“It’s a disadvantage as far as I’m concerned heading into a semi-final looking for form instead of understanding that form is building.”

A convincing win over surprise packets Laois pits them against Wexford in Sunday’s All-Ireland semi-final. And he agrees it’s a fixture both sides will relish.

“The prize is absolutely fantastic for both Wexford and Tipp, 70 minutes plus of hurling puts one of them into the final, it’s winner takes all, everyone wants to get through the semi-final hurdle and the prize being to compete for the final. So I think both will be happy to be there and in terms of how they got there, I think Wexford are in better shape having won their Leinster final, and that was a real shot in the arm to the whole project that they have running in Wexford, and in fairness to Davy and all that he has achieved.

“I think whoever is going to win, it will take a top performance and if somebody is flat – and I’m saying that from a Tipp perspective even though we’ve come in pretty flat into this now, we wouldn’t be happy with how we’ve performed as a county against Laois.

“But, having said that, all of that will be irrelevant on Sunday if we bring a top performance.”

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