Wounded Ryan desperate to complete Cork Con's healing process in final
EVAN RYAN knows exactly what's coming this weekend -- it's written all over his face.
The scars of battle from last weekend's 6-6 draw at Dooradoyle are all too apparent as the Cork Constitution skipper gears up to face Garryowen for the second successive week in Saturday's AIB Cup final at Dubarry Park (3.0).
Their primary focus will be on their opponents, but the disappointment of last year's final, when they were vanquished by Division Two side Ballynahinch, will help to spur on the Corkmen.
Ryan acknowledges that his side were second best last year, and he and his talented young team-mates will be looking to put that right on Saturday.
Part one of the healing process came in round two when they avenged that defeat by knocking out the holders, and he's hoping part two will be completed in Athlone.
"We didn't underestimate Ballynahinch one single bit and in my eyes they were the team of the year," said Ryan.
"They were absolutely superb in beating Shannon, Garryowen and ourselves as well as getting promoted.
"When we were drawn against them this season, we thought we were a small bit cursed, but it was a chance to play against a good club.
"There was a Munster 'A' game the previous Thursday so we were missing seven or eight players, but we still managed to beat them by two points. That showed the strength in depth we have.
"It's a great squad with a nice blend of youth and experience. We're still in every competition and if I had been offered this position at the beginning of the season, I'd have bitten your hand off for it."
Ryan, who has been playing with or against most of his opponents since he was in school, added: "It was very physical, very aggressive last week. It was probably one of the most physical matches we've played all year.
"It was really bad conditions as well, very foggy and murky. Hopefully it'll be better for the final. If it is, we'll be able to throw the ball around a bit more and make it a bit more of a spectacle for the people watching.
"I don't really know if it's good or bad to have played last week; we've played them so many times over the last couple of years.
"We've had two Cup finals in the last three years and now we're playing them for the third time this season.
"We're certainly used to each other's style of play. The team that will come out on top will do it by three or six points; there will be no more than a kick or two of the ball in it."