Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Waterford Manager Michael Ryan's Resignation Bombshell rocks Waterford Hurling: Time for some hard truths

It is particularly sad to see the resignation of Michael Ryan as Waterford senior hurling manager. He has made herculean efforts often at his own expense to rebuild the county team. He has maintained Waterford's Division 1A status. Waterford also came within seconds of knocking Kilkenny out of the All Ireland Senior Hurling Championship. According to the Irish Examiner:

A delegation of the 2012 squad approached the county board last week seeking a change in management following a players’ meeting. The majority of the panel met in the Ramada Hotel yesterday morning [Sunday] where Ryan’s position was discussed and voted on, with approximately 20 of 28 players understood to have voted against the Ballymacarbry man. It was at the same venue where members of the 2008 panel met when a majority of them expressed a vote of no confidence in Justin McCarthy, which led to his decision to step down. In a one-line statement released during the first half of yesterday’s All-Ireland semi-final, county board PRO Emer Barry wrote: “Michael Ryan has officially informed Waterford County Board that he will not be seeking the position of Senior Hurling Team Manager for 2014.” Ryan, who had initially wished to stay on, was expected to receive an extension to his two-year term. It was thought he was interested in another two-year deal. (Irish Examiner)

Player power has removed two managers in the last five years. This has serious implications for the county team. It will undoubtedly deter many potential managers from applying for the vacancy. Michael Ryan and his backroom team got as much out of this team as was humanly possible taking into account the fact that Waterford is rebuilding and has very scarce financial resources. Some people in Waterford need to wake up. To make the breakthrough the county must unearth another four quality players at least. The future is with the young players. Michael Ryan and his selection committee scoured the county for talent. New young players were introduced. There were no prima donnas on the team managed by Ryan. Players were substituted irrespective of reputation. Now of course that was not always the case in Waterford. In the not too distant past it was more difficult to get off the team than to get on it. Cork Manager Jimmy Barry Murphy does not accept prima donnas on his team. Everybody is equal. You take orders or you are dumped. That's the way it must be in Waterford also. No so called star can be allowed to dictate to any Waterford manager. It does not matter who he is. Discipline must prevail. If a so called star can’t take orders then he must go. We in Waterford are inclined to allow one or two so called stars too much leeway. Possibly within three years we might be able to win an All Ireland title at senior level. This will only be achieved with military discipline. Any so called star/player that refuses to take orders must be dumped off the panel until such time as he learns to see sense and shows respect.

John Mullane has suggested that Donal Og Cusack should replace Michael Ryan was Waterford manger. This is nonsensical. The Waterford country board has a debt of €700,000. It is just not possible to fund expenses of a high profile manager from outside the county. Incidentally Donal Og has no great track record as a hurling manager. Not for the first time Mullane is wrong. Incidentally the county team could have done without his sniping in the Irish Independent. It is likely that the new manager will come from within the county. My preference would be for Lismore clubman Sean Prendergast who has had great success training Tipperary and Cork club teams. Derek McGrath of De La Salle would also make a strong candidate. Sadly Waterford GAA is once more in the news for all the wrong reasons.

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