ONE half of Limerickâ€™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 Corkâ€™s Donal Oâ€™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 Oâ€™Grady in 2011 and a player with Limerick from 1994 to 2006.
â€œItâ€™s an honour. Iâ€™ve always felt that way about being involved with Limerick,â€ he said on Limerickâ€™s Live95FM on Friday morning.
â€œIâ€™m very fortunate that my work colleagues and from a business point of view that Iâ€™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 Iâ€™m delighted.â€
The appointment of joint managers is a new venture for Limerick, but Ryan is confident that it will work, given his healthy relationship with Oâ€™Grady. And he says itâ€™s about much more than the top two men and that the backroom team is also in place to deliver success.
â€œIn my work place right now, where I work right now itâ€™s a joint management role and Iâ€™ve stated from a business point before that I wouldnâ€™t like to be running it on my own. Itâ€™s the same with this. Itâ€™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. Itâ€™s a group, itâ€™s a management team, rather than one guy calling the shots. Itâ€™s collective rather than one individual.
â€œIâ€™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 whoâ€™s playing where. Agreement is come to at the end of a conversation rather than one guy making up his mind. Itâ€™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.
â€œI 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 weâ€™re hoping that we can bring that table over the next couple of years.â€
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.
â€œAll sports are games of opinons, youâ€™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.
â€œFrom my point of view, criticism doesnâ€™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 Iâ€™ve no problem with taking constructive criticism. Weâ€™ll be trying the best we can and we will make mistakes but weâ€™ll be giving it 100 per cent.
â€œSometimes weâ€™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.â€
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.
â€œThis is the start of a new season. Youâ€™re starting off with four new competitions. Youâ€™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.
â€œThat will have its day and when it comes weâ€™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 itâ€™s very hard to control.
â€œIt was unique and itâ€™s still capturing peopleâ€™s imagination when you look back at it. The foundations have been laid over the last number of years and weâ€™ve tried to keep as much of that in place going forward.
â€œWeâ€™re going to need an awful lot of things to go right for us. Need all last yearâ€™s squad to stay injury free and get a few breaks.
â€œGoing to Thurles to play Tipperary is always a tough proposition and thatâ€™s what weâ€™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.
â€œAll 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.
â€œSport can kick you hard. Weâ€™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.â€