Pat Ryan to replace Derek McGrath as Waterford hurling boss

By Tomás McCarthy

Cork’s Pat Ryan looks likely to succeed Derek McGrath as Waterford senior hurling manager.

Ryan, who won an All-Ireland with the Rebels in 1999, served as coach and selector under Kieran Kingston in 2016 and 2017. He has also guided his native Sarsfields to county success in 2012 and 2014.

The Waterford county board executive appointed a four-man committee earlier this month to seek a new bainisteoir following McGrath’s decision to step down after their Munster Championship exit.

It’s understood the players have been consulted about Ryan’s appointment.

Meanwhile, Tom McGlinchey has stepped down from his role as Waterford senior football manager after four years at the helm. The high points of his tenure came at the beginning with McGrath Cup glory in 2015 and near the end with this summer’s qualifier win over Wexford.

He informed the county board of his decision to step away on Wednesday night.

“The lifespan of a manager is around three or four years. Four years was probably enough for a team to be listening to one voice. The temptation was there to stay and it was hard to make that decision to move away but I felt it was the right time to go.”

The former Tipperary boss succeeded Niall Carew in October 2014 and led the Déise to only their second McGrath Cup by the following January. They defeated Cork 0-8 to 0-7 in the semi-final, their first competitive win over the Rebels in 55 years.

“It started in a blaze of glory. We had that great victory in Clashmore, we used to call it Fortress Clashmore! Cork had eight of their All Ireland winning team and we beat them on a cold January day.

“Then to have the big crowd to see us defeat UCC the following weekend, to win a McGrath Cup for the first time in 34 years, that was fantastic. It’s a day I’ll never forget, January 24. It started in so much despair for the St Saviour’s club when their clubhouse was vandalised and damaged with a fire.

“That evening Tony Corcoran and Dean Crowley won a McGrath Cup so that’s a day I’ll always remember.”

McGlinchey also took comfort from last year’s 1-12 to 1-11 loss to the Rebels in the Munster championship when they nearly caused the shock of the summer. 

“I know it was a defeat but that game against Cork was a super day for Waterford football, it really showed that we can mix it with the big boys.”

A first championship victory in seven years was a special occasion for McGlinchey this summer.

“You saw the raw emotion on the field that day with the players, the backroom team and the supporters. That typifies what’s great about the GAA and what a victory can do for a county. The genuine goodwill shown towards Waterford football throughout the country, that’s something that will never be taken away from us.”

Waterford’s league results however were a source of regret for McGlinchey as they didn’t finish higher than sixth over the last four seasons. The Déise lost ten Division 4 matches by two points or less as a promotion push never materialised.

“That would be a huge disappointment. It was something myself, the county board and the players always strived for but never achieved. I think the potential is there for Waterford to push out of Division 4 but it gets harder every year. This year you have Wexford and Derry coming down. It is a hard challenge for Waterford going forward.”

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