Wednesday 17 July 2019

Cyril Farrell: Ryan has earned right to make his own call on Premier future

Tippperary manager Michael Ryan. Photo: Sportsfile
Tippperary manager Michael Ryan. Photo: Sportsfile

Cyril Farrell

The Tipperary public are very hard on their team and they'll probably be hard on them again now that they've gone out of the championship as early as June 10.

They're not a bad team, they were just very unlucky yesterday.

They did most of the hurling in both halves and were just caught at the end in a game that completely turned on one single moment, after 64 minutes, when Jake Morris went through for goal.

His shot came off the post and straight from that Clare swept down and the ball was in the back of the net at the other end.

Tipp were four up at the time, they could have gone to seven but instead there was an immediate Clare goal and a six-point turnaround.

Even if Morris' shot had gone wide that probably wouldn't have happened because Tipp would have been re-grouped for the puck-out. Hitting the post, that changed the whole momentum.

Tipp ran out of legs in a few ways and it's not just down to having to play four weeks in a row either. They lost both wing-backs - Joe O'Dwyer and Brendan Maher - to injury and were running out of defenders by the end, with their backs all over the shop.


They picked a half-forward line of McCormack, Bonner Maher and McCarthy to win the hard ball but that didn't work and wasn't helped when McCormack collided with Tony Kelly early on and had to be replaced by Noel McGrath.

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I was surprised at some of their puck-outs in the second-half when they had the breeze. At times you'd wonder why Brian Hogan didn't keep going long because the Clare half-backs were thundering into it and when the ball broke inside it always looked like being a score.

But you have to give Clare credit for the way they came back into it, especially their subs.

They brought in Podge Collins and Seadhna Morey. Morey has real pace Podge scored 0-3 and, up to then, Peter Duggan's tour de force was largely keeping them in it.

Tipp have a lot of mileage up and the new system and schedule didn't help them but I don't think there's any reason to panic. They still have a lot of good players, I think Michael Ryan (right) is still a good guy, there's no one there to push him out so it'll be his own decision I'd imagine. He has earned that right.

Having four games in a row definitely takes a heavier toll physically. Wexford had that problem too but Kilkenny, by playing themselves out of a hole, showed that they are certainly good enough still.

It was unusual that Brian Cody changed his team from that announced originally but, at half-time, he made more changes which really worked - with Richie Leahy, Joey Holden, John Donnelly and Liam Blanchfield particularly good.

Galway will be happy to meet them in the Leinster final too because they've been in cruise control a bit and want to be tested and Kilkenny will give it to them.

It was interesting to see Richie Hogan at full-forward. Even if he isn't fully-fit, he's so crafty and energetic he'd give the likes of Daithi Burke a test. So while he may not start, he could still have a big say in this championship.

Limerick were the other big winners but they still have to get something out of the tie with Clare so it's going to be some game in Ennis next weekend. Clare will be on a high after beating Tipp and the place will be jammed.

Waterford probably couldn't have had worse luck this year and I'd say Derek McGrath will think long and hard about staying on because he's put in a savage effort.

They're out for the summer now too and you have to say the system is completely unequal. It should work the same in Leinster and Munster but Wexford lost to Kilkenny and are still in it and actually could have a big say because this was probably their best display.

They've a month's break now and won't be afraid of Westmeath or Carlow coming from the McDonagh Cup and the reality is that the number three team in either Leinster or Munster would have a great chance against the winners of that pairing only Leinster get that chance.

You also have the issue of teams playing three and four weeks in a row, some with more rest than others. It should surely be two weeks in a row only and the same for everyone.

Supporters can't complain especially with the games in Munster but there's no doubt the format has to be looked at.

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