Ryan used Saturday evening’s Allianz league quarter-final win, the county’s first in a decade, as a platform to round on critics of the team.
The Shannonsiders missed out on promotion from Division 1B after losing to Clare in the final round of games, consigning them to lower tier hurling for a seventh consecutive year.
But Ryan pointed out that in three seasons they have lost just two group games. He also noted that the AIB All-Ireland club success of Na Piarsiagh meant he was without eight players for this year’s 1B campaign.
The quality of those players was underlined on Saturday as goal scorer Kevin Downes, Shane Dowling and debutant Ronan Lynch contributed 1-9 between them at Parnell Park.
Ryan’s frustration was obvious and a routine question asking if it was a ‘big boost’ to get the Na Piarsaigh players back piqued his anger.
Ryan responded: “Ah, hi, look, Jaysus, it’s as clear as the nose on your face. You know what I’m saying? Unless you were blind. There’s eight lads from Na Piarsaigh on our panel. We were missing 25% of our panel for the whole league. Missed them (Kilmallock players) from club championship last year, missed players the previous year.
“This team in three years in Division 1B has only lost two round robin games and in both those games we had a man sent off. Let’s get real about it. Some of the stuff that’s been written - and I’m not blaming ye lads - it’s just been wrong.”
Asked if it was a ‘vital’ win for Limerick after losing by four points to Clare in what was effectively a promotion shoot-out, Ryan nodded enthusiastically.
“Vital, vital for the squad. Like, if you come down to Limerick and see some of the vultures we have down there and read what’s being said. There’s hidden agendas all over the place.
“There’s hidden agendas against this squad, against some of the backroom team. From a Limerick point of view, I’d like to thank the supporters who came here tonight.
“Look, this team is working hard. It is very young, right? We go from one extreme to the other. We go from talking about All-Irelands to talking about sacking managers. Let’s get real. We’re in a league semi-final, let’s get real. Let’s talk about winning the league.
“Look, there’s hidden agendas all over the place in Limerick unfortunately. It’s been part and parcel of my reign. It’s frustrating.”
Limerick gained revenge for last year’s 12-point defeat to Dublin at the same stage. They were generally in control despite Dublin’s record of strong home form.
Limerick led 0-13 to 0-9 at half-time though it was between the 53rd and 55th minutes that the game turned decisively. Trailing by one, Dublin’s David Treacy failed to convert a penalty and Downes punished the miss shortly after with a well taken goal.
Lynch played as a sweeper and Ryan praised his performance.
“Last year when we came to Croke Park in the league, with Dublin’s inside line (the sweeper) was something we felt needed to be looked at,” said Ryan. “I felt the lads did well. We worked on it during the week.”
Goalscorer Downes admitted it was nice to get back to county action having helped Na Piarsaigh to that club triumph on St Patrick’s Day.
“We’d great craic after but you can only do that for so long,” said Downes. “Not getting out of Division 1B was an obvious disappointment but this was a great game to get. The next day is going to be a very tough game again. It’s great preparation for the Championship, we’re out on the 19th of June so you can’t beat these competitive games.”
Dublin manager Ger Cunningham kicked to touch when asked if Conal Keaney would be returning to county action with any of his dual status club colleagues who won AIB All-Ireland club football medals.
“Just focused on the match today,” responded Cunningham who was ‘disappointed’ generally with the defeat. “Limerick are a good team. You don’t become a bad team overnight and they have a lot of good talent coming through. We certainly were expecting a big performance from them. They just got ahead of us and we seemed to be chasing the game. They were comfortable.”
S Dowling (0-6, 4 frees, 1 65), K Downes (1-2), D Byrnes (0-3), T Morrissey, B Nash and G O’Mahony (0-2 each), P Browne, R Lynch (1 free), J Fitzgibbon and P O’Brien (0-1 each)
D Treacy (1-8, 7 frees), N McMorrow (0-4), E Dillon (0-3), D O’Connell (0-2), F MacGib and D O’Callaghan (0-1 each).
N Quaid; S O’Brien, R McCarthy, R English; D Byrnes, W McNamara, G O’Mahony; P Browne, J Ryan; S Dowling, B Nash, T Morrissey; G Mulcahy, K Downes, R Lynch.
P O’Brien for McNamara (50), G Hegarty for Mulcahy (54), J Fitzgibbon for Dowling (59), C Lynch for Morrissey (65).
C Dooley; E O’Donnell, C O’Callaghan, O Gough; J Madden, L Rushe, C Crummey; D O’Connell, J McCaffrey; S McGrath, N McMorrow, D Treacy; D O’Callaghan, F MacGib, E Dillon.
D Plunkett for McGrath (32), M Schutte for MacGib (48), S Barrett for Madden (59), B Quinn for McCaffrey (65), O O’Rorke for O’Callaghan (68).
B Gavin (Offaly).