Brother Philip Ryan has admitted he stepped down as Waterford selector after realising players wanted a change in coaching.
In a candid reflection of his five months under Michael Ryan, the Mount Sion man insisted he retained the respect of the players but came to the conclusion he had brought the panel as far as he could as coach.
Ryan, whose exit came just three days after Nicky Cashin’s exit as selector, made his decision after training on Friday but only informed the Waterford manager following Sunday’s game against Galway in Salthill.
“My decision is for the best interest of the Waterford senior hurling team,” said Ryan. “I realised over the last two weeks that a change needed to be made in relation to the coaching set-up, which I had been delivering since I came on board with Michael Ryan.
“My contribution to the coaching needed to change so that the players could step up to a different level.
“I recognised that the players were looking for further coaching expertise within the set-up that I wasn’t able to deliver.
“I had looked at how the team had been moving in the last two weeks. I saw the writing on the wall and looked at my situation.”
Ryan delayed announcing his decision until after Sunday’s game so as the players could focus on it.
He said his namesake Michael accepted his reasons for stepping down.
“He understood my reasons perfectly when I pointed out to him with (newly appointed selectors) Ken McGrath and Sean Cullinane that this was the new dynamism and freshness that was needed.
“There was no animosity, no aggro within the management. I felt it was the right thing to do.
“I recognised on Friday on training that I hadn’t lost the respect of the players but they needed the coaching to be more dynamic than what it was.”
Ryan worked with the backs under Davy Fitzgerald last year but this season took over the bigger brief of team coach.
“We have a large panel, somewhere between 32 and 48 over the last three and a half months and to manage that amount of players on your own is quite a daunting task.
“I have expertise in different areas but when you’re in charge of the whole thing it’s very hard to get around to certain executions.
“When you work with the backs, you can execute things in a way that’s more forensic.
“I’m around a long time, hurling is my game but you know when it’s time, you know when the players are with you. I didn’t lose their respect but I knew the zip in the training work wasn’t where it should have been.”
Ryan appreciates there is a perception outside the camp that there have been difficulties within it after both his and Cashin’s departures.
However, the former Laois coach stated: “This management team have gone through a fairly tough time since it has come together.
“It has had to deal with a lot of stuff outside of its control. It can look like there is divisive factions but it is anything but. It’s just everybody pushing each other to the limit to produce the best we can and in this case I’ve fallen victim to that and rightfully so because I evaluated what I delivered with the players. I wouldn’t like to stay in a set-up where the players are not getting the best out of themselves.”
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