Ryan backs ‘outstanding’ defence to hold Longford

A supremely confident Jason Ryan has the utmost faith in his Wexford defence being able to handle Longford in Sunday’s Leinster SFC quarter-final.

Despite earning promotion to Division 2, last year’s provincial runners-up conceded an incredible 13 goals over their seven league games.

However, the Wexford manager is sure his back-line can contain their opponents in Croke Park.

“Water-tight. Outstanding. They’re going to put in a really good defensive performance. [Trainer] Mick Casey has worked so hard with the players,” he said on South-East Radio.

“When you’ve guys like Graeme Molloy and David Murphy working so hard and real leaders in the group, they are demanding high standards out of everybody.

“Watch out, you’re going to see a different Wexford on Sunday when it comes to defending. During the league, we wanted to score. We had missed out on promotion on scoredifference for two separate seasons and it wasn’t on what we conceded. It was because in some games we just didn’t kill off teams.”

Wexford’s delight in getting back to Division 2 was dampened slightly by their defeat in the Division 3 final to Longford but Ryan also pointed to a bit of over-confidence among hisplayers for the defeat.

“I feel there was a certain amount of complacency in our performance. We maybe felt it was just going to happen but sport isn’t like that.

“In the first-half we didn’t make anything happen but in the second-half the guys made things happen. People have to remember Longford didn’t score from play in the second-half of that game.

“Can you imagine going through 35 minutes of football and nothing scoring anything from play at all in Croke Park in national final?”

Ryan also said he would never stand in the way of any of his footballers leaving the panel to play hurling.

Earlier this week, his hurling equivalent Liam Dunne admitted he would love to have current footballers Ciarán Lyng and Brian Malone in his panel.

He said: “In fairness to Jason, he’s saying the dual players can play and he uses the example of Eoin Cadogan.

“It’s very easy to have fringe [football] players on the hurling team and say we can have dual players. But if Ciarán Lyng and Brian Malone came in next year, I wonder would it be the same.”

In response, Ryan said: “They’re very talented guys. If Kieran McGeeney thought he could get them to join Seánie Johnston he’d be very interested as well.

“The GAA is amateur and there are no contracts. Nobody’s obliged to play hurling or football with their county. We don’t own them and if a playerdecides he’s going to leave the panel and play hurling that’s the player’sprerogative.”

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