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Monday, June 25, 2012
If there was a panic button available to Declan Ryan yesterday, he didn’t see it.
Nor did his players.
Three points up and having scored 1-3 without reply, John O’Brien’s sending off for a second yellow card was the proverbial spanner in the works.
But taking from games like the All-Ireland quarter-final against Galway and last year’s semi-final win over Dublin when bums squeaked, they dug deep.
After criticism following last year’s All-Ireland final and the edgy win over Limerick last time out, Ryan was delighted for the players.
"Well you know there have been questions about their commitment and their ability, but they showed today what they’re about.
"They take a lot of pride in wearing the blue and gold. I think that game will stand us in great stead as the year goes on.
"We’ve a good idea where our players are at — and we have some strong players on the bench as well. To get out of here with a win is a huge achievement."
After returning to the panel, Ryan took particular joy in seeing Lar Corbett laying off the ball to Noel McGrath for Tipperary’s 46th-minute goal.
"Super goal. A real team goal. Delighted with the way Lar got his pass in there, and Noel finished it off. I thought there was a goal or two to be got. I’m really pleased for the players and the backroom team, they’ve put in a huge effort — particularly over the past few weeks, they’ve really knuckled down. I think that was shown on the field."
After two difficult tests, Ryan believes he knows a lot more about his team.
"I think we’ve a good idea where our players are at right now, there’s no doubt about that. We’ve some options available on the bench and that’s down to playing a couple of heavy championship games. We all know that Tipp’s record in Cork hasn’t been great over the last 70 or 80 years so it’s a huge achievement from our guys’ point of view."
Ryan, who reported Brian O’Meara twisted his ankle, did take issue with Brian Gavin blowing for a free when advantage would have seen John O’Brien find the net early in the second half.
"We went for a goal in the second half and the ref blew it back. When the advantage rule goes for you, you’re disappointed."
Ahead of a second successive Munster final against Waterford, Ryan insists it will be key for his players not to read too much into last year’s 21-point win.
"This is a new year now and a new Munster championship. Any day you’re in the Munster championship it’s a 50-50 game and I’m sure Waterford will come to Cork with all guns blazing on July 15."
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