Ryan: My job is to make every player better

September 8th, 2022 8:00 AM

By Southern Star Team

New Cork senior hurling manager Pat Ryan.

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NEW Cork hurling manager Pat Ryan is aware enough to know that Cork’s growing wait for a senior All-Ireland – 2005 was the last win – will be the key parameter by which his three-year tenure is measured, but he is not getting bogged down in it.

Ryan, who has taken over from previous boss Kieran Kingston, also feels that Cork need to adapt to modern hurling if the Rebels want to be successful.

‘First of all, from a player point of view, if you’re going to measure your career in winning All-Irelands it can be a very disappointing career,’ Ryan says.

‘We’ve lads on the panel now playing for three, four, five years, all the way up to Patrick (Horgan), who’s been there for 13 or 14 years – does that mean that he hasn’t had a brilliant career? Of course it doesn’t.

‘I think, from a management point of view, we’d be very naïve if we didn’t say winning an All-Ireland is where we all want to be with Cork.

‘It’s not something we’ve been used to – there are lots of kids alive that have never seen Cork win an All-Ireland and the reality is that we’ll be judged on whether we can deliver an All-Ireland in the next couple of years for Cork.

‘Whenever I took over a team, my job was always to make every fella better. That’s what’s in my mind as a coach – if I can’t make every player a better hurler at the end of the year after my coaching, then I haven’t done a good job, whether you win, lose or draw.

‘Obviously, winning is the most important thing but, if you can sit down afterwards and say, ‘I got every fella better,’ that’s a great win, I think, and that’s where I’d focus my management as well.’

Ryan led Sars to county SHC titles in 2012 and 2014 before enjoying success with the U20 sides. Even in the space of a decade, he feels hurling has evolved a lot.

‘The game has changed hugely, I think we can all see that,’ he says.

‘For the better? I’m not too sure, but it’s definitely changed. It’s still a fantastic game, there are probably some aspects that I would prefer weren’t in the game, but I think we’ve been slow in Cork to move to what’s needed.

‘That’s no criticism of anyone else, I think it’s everyone – the players, the management teams, the public, myself. I’m in a different place now to where I was a few years ago in terms of how to play the game.

‘We’d be very traditional in Cork about how we want to play the game and around the values that we have on that side of it, but I think the game has changed hugely and we need to adapt to that if we want to be successful.

‘In terms of physicality, in terms of professionalism, in terms of maybe being a bit naïve at times or in terms of maybe being a bit cynical at times, in terms of how forwards work and how we defend. I think it’s multi-faceted in terms of the areas we need to develop.

‘We’re not going to be able to get fellas fit in November and December for starting in January. Fellas need to be coming back fit and ready to train. Inter-county matches are of such a high speed that you have to be ready straightaway when you come into a panel.

‘There’s no time to be babysitting fellas.’

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