TJ Ryan honoured to be new Limerick hurling manager

TJ Ryan honoured to be new Limerick hurling manager
ONE half of Limerick’s new hurling management team says he is honoured to be appointed to the role and is looking forward to building on the success of 2013.

ONE half of Limerick’s new hurling management team says he is honoured to be appointed to the role and is looking forward to building on the success of 2013.

TJ Ryan, who will take up the role of joint manager alongside Cork’s Donal O’Grady after being officially appointed on Thursday night, is ready to get to work straight away on his new role, having been a seelctor under O’Grady in 2011 and a player with Limerick from 1994 to 2006.

“It’s an honour. I’ve always felt that way about being involved with Limerick,” he said on Limerick’s Live95FM on Friday morning.

“I’m very fortunate that my work colleagues and from a business point of view that I’m able to do this because it takes a lot of time, takes a lot of effort, takes up a lot of your life and it probably will consume us for the next two years. But I see it as a top job in Limerick and I’m delighted.”

The appointment of joint managers is a new venture for Limerick, but Ryan is confident that it will work, given his healthy relationship with O’Grady. And he says it’s about much more than the top two men and that the backroom team is also in place to deliver success.

“In my work place right now, where I work right now it’s a joint management role and I’ve stated from a business point before that I wouldn’t like to be running it on my own. It’s the same with this. It’s nice to have someone running the place with you and to have someone with you to bounce ideas off, someone who can take the pressure off, who can handle different situations. It’s a group, it’s a management team, rather than one guy calling the shots. It’s collective rather than one individual.

“I’ve been involved with selection committees and management teams for the last couple of years in lots of different ways - from U-6s to senior teams - and I think the GAA has moved on from split decisions and arguments over who’s playing where. Agreement is come to at the end of a conversation rather than one guy making up his mind. It’s a management team. This thing is much, much bigger than people think and it would be far more daunting if I was here on my own.

“I would consider Donal a friend as well as everything else. We worked together in 2011 and even over the last number of years, being involved in different projects and we met on the media side of things. I would consider my relationship and my friendship with him very good and we’re hoping that we can bring that table over the next couple of years.”

Having played with Limerick for more than ten years, been involved as a selector previously and U-21 manager this year, he knows that there will be pressure and considerable criticism along the way.

“All sports are games of opinons, you’re always going to have a difference of opinion. People writing up when you make mistakes and pats on the back, kicks up the ass are all part of sport.

“From my point of view, criticism doesn’t bother me. You will see people with hidden agendas writing this and writing that. To me the ability see beyond the obvious separates the good from the bad. From my point of view I know where people are coming from and I’ve no problem with taking constructive criticism. We’ll be trying the best we can and we will make mistakes but we’ll be giving it 100 per cent.

“Sometimes we’re going to be entitled to our fair share of criticism but all I can say from my heart is that anything I will do will be in the best interest of the team.”

And all things going well, there will be plenty of excitement again next summer. And dealing with the hype, which was such a talking point in 2012, will be a factor again.

“This is the start of a new season. You’re starting off with four new competitions. You’ve Waterford Crystal, National League, Munster championship and then the All Ireland and hype only starts to generate when you get further and further in competitions.

“That will have its day and when it comes we’ll look at every challenge that comes along. In fairness this year it was unique in that the minors and seniors were in a Munster final and it was on in Limerick and it had been a long time and it’s very hard to control.

“It was unique and it’s still capturing people’s imagination when you look back at it. The foundations have been laid over the last number of years and we’ve tried to keep as much of that in place going forward.

“We’re going to need an awful lot of things to go right for us. Need all last year’s squad to stay injury free and get a few breaks.

“Going to Thurles to play Tipperary is always a tough proposition and that’s what we’re going to have to do with the seniors next year. History will tell you that going to Thurles to play Tipperary is not easy.

“All the players I played with over the years always wanted to do their best. Some days you will have an off day and you see that too with the top soccer players and top rugby players.

“Sport can kick you hard. We’re all amateurs, this is a hobby for all of us. There are plenty of bumps along the road and unfortunately a lot of down days but we all live for one or two days that are just special and that you have for a life time.”