Monday 24 July 2017

Ryan in driving seat to take over Waterford hurlers

DERMOT CROWE

JASON RYAN is the leading contender to take over as manager of the Waterford hurlers -- with former Kilkenny goalkeeper James McGarry being lined up as coach, according to well-placed sources.

Ryan has spent the last four years managing the Wexford football team, is a native of Waterford and a former inter-county footballer.

Despite his experience and favourable reputation as a manager, Ryan does not have a strong hurling background and is something of a left-field candidate. However, he has excellent management credentials and with McGarry as part of the ticket, a selection committee currently seeking a suitable candidate is believed to be giving the pair serious consideration.

When contacted yesterday, Ryan said he had not applied for the job and that he wasn't nominated by the clubs, while also stating that there were other candidates in contention who deserved respect and due recognition. However, as with any management appointment process, informal discussions can take place and it is believed that a six-man sub-committee has been in contact with Ryan.

The vacancy has arisen in the wake of Davy Fitzgerald's departure after four years in charge. If appointed, Ryan would become the first native manager since Tony Mansfield in the 1990s. After Mansfield's exit there followed a string of outside appointments, beginning with Gerald McCarthy in the autumn of 1996.

The Carlow manager Kevin Ryan, a former Mount Sion and Waterford hurler and selector, is also in contention to succeed Fitzgerald and sources say his "hat is in the ring".

The former Waterford ladies coach Michael Ryan, who was with the De La Salle hurlers last season, is another interested in the job and under consideration. He allowed his name go forward last year before Fitzgerald's reappointment. No formal interviews have yet been carried out to fill the vacancy.

Jason Ryan was appointed Wexford football manager at 32 in 2007, taking over from Paul Bealin. He played senior inter-county football with his native county and also had a spell playing for London. Under his guidance, Wexford played in two Leinster finals, suffering a 23-point drubbing from Dublin in 2008, but putting in a much more sturdy challenge in this year's decider. After the hefty Leinster final defeat three years ago, they recovered admirably to reach the All-Ireland semi- finals, losing to Tyrone.

Ryan had put himself in line for the Wexford job by transforming the fortunes of the Clongeen football team who won a first-ever senior county title on his watch. Last year he was reappointed Wexford manager after his term expired.

Fitzgerald led Waterford to a first All-Ireland final in 45 years in 2008. Last year they won the Munster championship but suffered a heavy beating in this year's provincial final, conceding seven goals against Tipperary. There was some measure of compensation in beating Galway in the All-Ireland quarter-final before Kilkenny proved too strong at the next hurdle.

Former Waterford captain Fergal Hartley has already ruled himself out of contention. Hartley was in charge of the under 21 team defeated in controversial circumstances by Tipperary this year.

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