Ryan dropped Kelly from the Waterford squad last week but would not confirm yesterday’s report in this newspaper that he had held meetings with Kelly since.
“I spoke on this last Monday and I have no further comment to make on it. I didn’t see it [the story] and I have no comment to make on it,” he said.
“What I said last Monday was, and this is absolutely true, there was an opportunity for Eoin, as there was for every other hurler in Waterford, to get on the panel and he was to go away and work on his fitness and we’d look at the situation again. Nothing has changed.
“As far as I’m concerned there’s no sideshow. We have 30 fellas working very hard and the training is going fine, the attitude has been good. Everybody seems to be enjoying themselves and we’re all moving forward and trying to build a team for the Munster Championship.”
Asked if there was any prospect of Kelly returning to the panel if he proved his fitness, Ryan said: “That’s exactly the situation. As I said last week, I think Eoin Kelly’s career is far from over. It’s up to himself.”
Ryan pointed out his team did not even play a competitive game yet.
“We’ve only had four or five training sessions, we’ve played no game yet so it’s far too early to make any assumption but hopefully a few new guys will come to the fore. First of all you look at guys in training and then you come into match situations.
“Based on that you have to make a call on the panel for the league but the panel will be open-ended right throughout the season. If somebody outside the group is working very hard and playing well they’ll be added to the group and likewise if it’s somebody inside who’s not performing, we’ll change that too.”
Ryan added the panel would be trimmed in February.
“We have to make a call [on the panel] probably the middle of next month.
“I wouldn’t say there’s 50 on the panel, there’s an extended panel. There’s people outside the group who are actually on weight programmes and stuff like that. So we’ll assess the whole thing in the next couple of weeks.
“We’ll have to make a call — we know that but I’d like to think that even the people who don’t make the cut, they’re still there. We’ll arrange a few games for them and make them part of the development squad. We’re going to work very closely with the U21s as well in Waterford to make sure we’re singing off the same hymn sheet.”
* Phone company 3 will sponsor Waterford GAA for another three years.