Clare’s Colin Ryan says the opinion of supporters about the team’s entertainment value doesn’t matter so long as the county keep winning games.
On Sunday, the Banner surrendered their 100% record for 2016 but remain unbeaten for their 12 games this season.
Ryan, who looked to have scored the winning point before Maurice Shanahan’s late equaliser, appreciates a lot of Sunday’s final against Waterford wasn’t pretty on the eye but admits it means little to him and his team-mates.
“I’d say the neutrals thought it was horrible, the first half. That’s just the way the game has gone. Lads are getting fitter and fitter. We all give seven days a week every week for numerous months of the year and all you want to do is win.
“At the end of your career, you want to look back on it and go ‘did you win medals?’ That’s all we’re worried about. We don’t care about what the supporters think, if they enjoy it. They’ll enjoy it when we win. I’m sure the Waterford fans would love if they won an All-Ireland no matter what way they’re playing.”
Ryan joked Davy Fitzgerald and Derek McGrath were grateful in a way yesterday was a Bank Holiday –“the two boys won’t sleep a wink thinking about what’s going to happen next week”. But the Newmarket-on-Fergus man is thrilled with another game before championship although he felt Clare had the win in the palm of their hands.
“When the puck-out came down and we had it won; I thought our lads were fighting fierce well but Brian (Gavin) made a decision and I was too far away to see what it was. Fair play to Maurice, he nailed and it just brings us back another day. We don’t have to look forward to another pre-season; we’re getting games, games, games, which is great. We love games. You can be going there for a week, we probably would have been flogged this week and then back to the clubs the week after so we’re looking forward to stepping in and getting ready for an important game. Then lads go to the clubs and it’s only three weeks then to the Munster championship.
“If you ask any player, it’s an ideal situation. They just want games, games, games. I think the gaps are too long between competitive games, between league and championship. We’re just delighted.”
Ryan’s recent honeymoon meant he dropped in the pecking order - he came on as a substitute in the second half of normal time - but he has no qualms with that.
“It’s very hard to move somebody who is playing well and I accept that fully. I’d never fall out with anybody or throw the toys out of the pram. You take your chances and do what you can for the team. I was delighted to get 40 minutes. I was delighted with extra-time. It was great!”
He believes there is more strength in depth in the Banner outfit than there was in their All-Ireland winning season of three years ago. “Everybody is evolving and our lads are getting older and I think we’re building a panel. Would I say we’ve a stronger panel now than we did in 2013? I probably would. There are lads stepping up to the mark. You can see the lads who are missing and it’s just seamless. We’re just looking forward to the summer.”
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