Mount Sion man firmly focused on Oulart success
KEVIN RYAN was never going to leave his post as a Waterford Senior hurling selector for a mickey mouse team. It had to be for someone with serious ambitions and a high calibre, and who better than an Oulart-The Ballagh side chasing their third county Senior hurling title in four years?I had started out the year with Waterford, but I resigned in February to take up the Oulart jo
KEVIN RYAN was never going to leave his post as a Waterford Senior hurling selector for a mickey mouse team. It had to be for someone with serious ambitions and a high calibre, and who better than an Oulart-The Ballagh side chasing their third county Senior hurling title in four years?
I had started out the year with Waterford, but I resigned in February to take up the Oulart job, as there was no way I could do the two roles,' explained the Mount Sion clubman, who worked alongside current Deise boss Justin McCarthy for three years (2004-2006).
But it had to be for a decent Senior team, and one that was ambitious. There are plenty of teams like that down in Wexford anyway, but Oulart-The Ballagh are a very good club. I would have played against them myself and I knew a good bit about them.
Working outside of Waterford is something new for me alright, as I have never been involved with anyone other than Mount Sion or my county before. But I'm very happy that I got involved with Oulart and I'm really looking forward to the county final,' he added.
When I spoke to Ryan, he was just home from a training session with the Mount Sion Juvenile team, who are also preparing for a county final.
He remains very active in the club that he helped to win five county Senior titles over a playing career than spanned 15 years, which began with a substitute's appearance in their 1982 All-Ireland Club final loss to James Stephens.
At the moment, my main commitment has to be with Oulart-The Ballagh, but I still do whatever I can to help out in Mount Sion,' he said.
I train the Under-16 team and go to watch the Senior games whenever I can,' he added.
Ryan was quite satisfied with Oulart-The Ballagh's display in dethroning holders Rathnure in the semi-final, but he revealed it came at a cost, with three key players sustaining injuries that seriously threaten their participation in Sunday's final.
There was never going to be anything easy with Rathnure, as they are a solid side,' he said.
We did miss a good few chances in the first-half, but I didn't think we would ever lose it. Having said that, they could have very easily got a goal at the end of it and the lads did well to hold on.
Liam (Dunne) and Des (Mythen) having to go off certainly didn't help us. Liam (finger) and Darren Stamp (thumb) are both in plaster and Des has a hamstring injury, so it's not looking good for any of the three of them,' he added.
Ryan revealed that he never fully realised the intense local rivalry that exists between Oulart-The Ballagh and Buffers Alley, until the two clashed earlier this year in the All-County League.
Some people in the club said to me It might be your first league game, but it wouldn't be a good one to lose,' he joked.
You could feel the rivalry there alright when the game started. But other than that match and a few minutes of their semi-final, I haven't seen much of Buffers Alley. Both teams were without their county players that day in the league, so I'm sure there will be two much stronger sides out in the final,' he added.
With Buffers Alley appearing in their first county final in 15 years, and Oulart contesting their fourth in a row, the latter will undoubtedly be favourites to lift the Dr. R.J. Bowe Cup. However, Ryan doesn't necessarily agree with this assertion.
We might look to have a strong team on paper, but in a county final it's an absolute two-horse race. You might think that one team is better than the other over ten games, but this is a one-off match.
I feel it's the underdogs who are in a better position going into a county final.
It's Oulart's fourth final in a row and obviously the lads are mad to get the title back after last year's result. No matter how many of them you have, you set out to win a county championship every year and that's what we will be doing our best to do on Sunday.'