Monday 20 November 2017

Ryan future in doubt as Fox hunts down Model

Tipperary 1-13 Wexford 0-15
SFC Round 2 Qualifier

Jackie Cahill

JASON Ryan will take time out to consider his position as Wexford boss following Saturday's defeat to Tipperary at Semple Stadium.

The Waterford native has spent five seasons at the helm but may be unwilling to commit for another season.

Ryan admitted that he was left "devastated" by a one-point defeat against Tipp in Thurles.

Wexford paid the price for missed opportunities against a well-drilled and organised Tipp outfit.

The Slaneysiders had won by 15 points when the sides met in Division 3 of the Allianz League, but this was a remarkable turnaround in the heat of championship battle.

And Tipperary's victory ensured that the Premier County has won two championship matches in the same season for the first time since 2003.

But Ryan's future will be the focus of intense speculation in the coming weeks. In the immediate aftermath of this setback, he insisted: "I haven't even thought about it."

Less than a fortnight before, Wexford were going toe-to-toe with All-Ireland champions Dublin in the Leinster SFC semi-final.

But the manner of that agonising defeat appears to have left psychological scars that were exposed by the home team. Ryan also held Eric Bradley and Ben Brosnan in reserve, explaining that the pair had carried injuries into the game.

Brosnan was nominated for an All Star last year but has endured an interrupted season. And the talented forward was in despair at the death when his long-range effort went agonisingly wide as Wexford chased an equalising point to take the game into extra-time.

Ryan reflected: "It was unfortunate. Ben has trained once since the Dublin game; he tore his hamstring. That's the risk you take -- we were so far behind that we had to bring him in and hope for the best.

"Eric has been injured for the last two weeks; hasn't trained at all. And we learned from the (Division 3) League final against Longford, when we played guys we hoped were okay but weren't. We had to make a call."

He added: "Tipperary came with a well-organised plan, well executed.

"Their players on the day were very committed and they were worthy winners. Instead of focusing on Wexford, Tipp should be praised for their efforts. We had 17 missed scoring chances in the game -- there you go.

"We didn't take them and at the end of the day, if you don't take your chances, you can't expect to win the game."

Ryan added: "I'm devastated that we're out of the championship. It's just absolutely devastating. We had enough opportunities but, like the Dublin game, we didn't take them. That's that. But Tipp deserve great credit."

Tipp boss Peter Creedon paid tribute to his emerging stars, with 19-year-old forward Michael Quinlivan and Man of the Match Brian Fox leading the charge.

And Tipperary did it the hard way, finding some extra resolve after Wexford had come from seven points down to draw level with 16 minutes remaining.

Donagh Leahy's 14th-minute goal helped to open up a 1-6 to 0-2 lead for the hosts, but Wexford reeled off four unanswered points. However, the home side still led by a healthy six points at half-time.

Another run of four without reply had Tipp rocking in the second half but they held firm and Creedon beamed: "When Wexford came at us in the second half, in fairness to our lads they got the couple of scores that got us going again.

"I give credit to young Michael (Quinlivan) and a lot of the forwards. Brian Fox kicked a great score when it was needed. It kept the scoreboard ticking over. We got to 16 points and that is what I thought we would need to win it."

Scorers -- Tipperary: M Quinlivan 0-4 (1f), D Leahy 1-0, P Austin, B Fox, A Maloney (2f) 0-2 each, A Campbell, H Coghlan, P Acheson 0-1 each. Wexford: S Roche 0-5 (3f), R Barry 0-4 (3f, 1 45), PJ Banville 0-3, C Lyng 0-2, B Brosnan 0-1.

TIPPERARY -- P Fitzgerald 8; A Morrissey 6, P Codd 6, C McDonald 7; B Fox 9, R Kiely 7, A Campbell 7; G Hannigan 8, H Coghlan 7; R Ryan 6, B Mulvihill 6, D Leahy 7; M Quinlivan 8, P Austin 7, P Acheson 7. Subs: A Maloney 7 for Mulvihill (35), S Scully 5 for Ryan (51), A Matassa for Scully (65), B Mulvihill for Austin (66), L Egan for Quinlivan (70).

WEXFORD -- A Masterson 7; G Molloy 6, L Chin 6, R Tierney 6; B Malone 6, D Murphy 6, A Doyle 6; A Flynn 6, D Waters 6; R Barry 6, C Morris 5, C Carty 5; PJ Banville 7, C Lyng 7, S Roche 7. Subs: P Byrne 6 for C Carty (44), B Brosnan 6 for Morris (44), E Bradley 5 for Roche (60), N Murphy for Doyle (70).

REF -- Michael Duffy (Sligo).

Irish Independent

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