Sunday 25 March 2018

Ryan leading Lilywhites out of the darkness and into the light

Kildare manager Jason Ryan
Kildare manager Jason Ryan

Peter Canavan

It was so disappointing to watch a Cork team perform how they did last weekend. Especially when we had seen the potential that exists in that team the first day against Kerry.

Normally with the Rebels you get a willingness to fight for each other. That was absent. A change of management was inevitable but the question remains - can the players show the fortitude to get back to the top again?

I can't understand their appetite last March and April. Look at the battles Cork had in the National league against Monaghan and Donegal, and how they beat Tyrone.

When they were tearing everything down and giving it all for the jersey in March and April, you have to wonder.

I have always found Jason Ryan to be an innovative coach and manager. The job that he undertook in Wexford and the way he transformed a group of footballers that were going nowhere to contest an All-Ireland semi-final, and playing attractive football, shows the amount of work he had done with them.

The job he took over in Kildare was difficult in following Kieran McGeeney. They were very unlucky to be relegated, but he was not into excuses. He was the same after the hammering they got from Dublin.

I was delighted that the Kildare players are now getting the results that their manager deserves. It's clear from the performance they gave in Thurles that they are enjoying their football and have a spring in their step.

Now they get a chance to play the All-Ireland champions Kerry, and that is something that always sharpens the instincts of any ambitious team and manager.

Of the four games this weekend, there is the distinct possibility of one shock. Donegal beware.

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