BY JOHNNY CAROLAN
WHILE John Considine accepts that the fact he is a club colleague of Pat Ryan means that he could be accused of being biased, he nevertheless feels that the new Cork hurling manager was by far the best available candidate.
Considine, who lives in Kilbrittain, was a member of the Cork team that won the 1990 All-Ireland, later managed the county at minor, U21 and U17 levels as well as a two-game stint as senior caretaker boss between the reigns of Gerald McCarthy and Denis Walsh.
For Sarsfields, he played alongside Ryan as their careers overlapped in the late 1990s and he has not been surprised to see him progress.
‘I finished up in 1997 and he was one of our best players, if not the best, in the county final, when he was only in the door, so to speak,’ he says.
‘He was a fine player, people might forget that. He played inter-county and he was a ball-player, ahead of his time in some ways.
‘As his time was finishing up with Sars, he collected his county medals on the field and then immediately transitioned to winning as manager.
‘Beyond that, though, he has done a lot of work with the underage teams in Sars and with Rebel Óg, he has helped out with the Sars intermediates too. The depth of knowledge he brings is huge and I don’t think there will be anything that the job will throw up that will surprise him.’
After helping Sars to end a 51-year wait for a county SHC title in 2008, Ryan won another medal in 2010. Upon his retirement at the end of 2011, he immediately became manager and the Seán Óg Murphy Cup returned to Riverstown in 2012 and 2014.
From there, he was involved in Kieran Kingston’s senior management as coach and selector in 2016 and 2017 and was appointed county U20 manager in the autumn of 2019, guiding Cork to back-to-back titles – the first time the county had been successful in the grade since 1998.
It is that breadth of experience and success that Considine feels place him above any of the other names that had been in the mix during the brief period after the announcement that Kingston was departing the role.
‘Nobody else could have that,’ he says.
‘He has the background – he’s played and has club underage and senior management experience. It’s hard to imagine anybody else coming in with a better level of experience – he must be one of the best-prepared first-time senior inter-county managers.
‘You now have guys who’ve won All-Irelands with him and know what he’s about. He is the right appointment, full stop.
‘It’s also in keeping with what Cork have been trying to do in terms of bringing guys through from the underage. Fellas have come in at Rebel Óg and gone up through minor level.
‘Pat had been in Rebel Óg years ago, he’s gone to the 20s and he’s now going on. Pat has done it at all levels and he has the knowledge.
‘From talking to people, I think he would be the most widely-respected appointment as well. Bringing that with you is important and I think he’ll have a huge backing from the public.
‘That is vital because, while I think Cork are ready (to contend), it ain’t going to be plain sailing. It’s going to be tough at times – the players are coming up but they’re still getting there.
‘There’s something right about this appointment – it all fits. This guy has served his time and done a very good job anywhere he’s been. There are no guarantees but if I was given the job of appointing the manager, it would have been Pat though I’d probably have been accused of bias!
‘I can’t see there being any reason to doubt this appointment. I know I’m Sars and I’ve worked with him and I like him, but what possibly could not be right about this is beyond me.
‘He knows the players, he has a great understanding of hurling. As a Cork person, I feel good about it.’