Michael Ryan stopped short of likening yesterday’s Division 1 final defeat to last year’s no-show against Galway but acknowledged his side were “well and truly beaten in the second half”.
Tipperary trailed Kilkenny by 10 points close to the end, six less than their collapse in the Gaelic Grounds 12 months ago, but it was obvious a second successive league decider hurt him.
“Thinking about ourselves, yeah, it’s disappointing. It’s nothing like last year, last year was a non turn-up. This was a good contest, we were in the game and we stayed in the game.
“They got a four-point headstart straight after half-time and they finished with six. But they were ruthless, they took a couple of great goals and that’s what they do. They capitalise on your weaknesses and they certainly did that.”
Asked if it was a shock to the system, Ryan replied: “Shock? Look, I think we are all playing the game long enough to understand you are guaranteed nothing in life and nobody would come to watch hurling if they could predict the results. We came, we tried, it just wasn’t good enough today but I’d still have a huge amount of confidence in what we are doing and what we are about.
“We have a very fine panel and we look forward to welcoming the rest of the guys back that we haven’t seen all year, so we can really push the competitive buttons in Thurles. That’s where we need to get to, back to Thurles and back to working hard.”
Ryan felt the loss of the likes of Seamus Callanan, Patrick Maher, and Noel McGrath blunted them yesterday. “Look, I would have called it out last week. We’re not the finished article. We certainly are not — I think we’ve proven that today. We need to see more of our missing players back on the pitch. I think we were stretched today in terms of resources and it hurt. We became a little bit predictable and we didn’t have that variety that we were looking for.”
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