Michael Ryan believes his Tipperary senior hurlers are “almost public enemy No.1” and the team everybody still loves to beat.
But the new Premier County supremo shot down the perception Tipp are arrogant – describing the tag as “barstool stuff”.
In a wide-ranging summation of his new role and the challenges he faces, Ryan also insisted he will not overstay his welcome as Tipp manager and if his tenure is unsuccessful, he will know when to step aside.
But the Upperchurch-Drombane clubman, a selector alongside former managers Liam Sheedy and Eamon O’Shea, has high expectations of his players after taking the county’s top job.
Ryan also admitted managing the Tipperary seniors was never a burning ambition of his.
Speaking at the 2016 Tipperary Supporters Club launch, Ryan explained: “It’s been an unusual transition. If you checked in with me three or four years ago, I’d have said absolutely not, (management) it’s not for me. When I worked with Eamon over the last three years and particularly the last year or two of those, I got a sense from working so closely with Eamon, this was something I’d like to do. It’s worked out like that.
“I’d be very conscious I’ve been already around here for six years and you know, I may well be guilty of being there for too long.
“I won’t overstay my welcome – it will either be successful or I’ll move out of the way and let someone else at it.”
Acknowledging Tipperary fans are a demanding bunch, Ryan reflected: “We are but that’s not going to change, that’s who we are. People love to beat us, we’re almost public enemy No.1.
“I look at the record sheet and we’re coming in third in terms of overall success and yet I’d say we are probably THE biggest target.
“There’s an accusation that Tipp are arrogant. Being honest, I think it’s barstool stuff and I certainly hope nothing about me has ever come across as arrogant or any team we represent comes across arrogantly because I can tell you for sure, none of these guys are arrogant or think anything beyond that they’re blessed to have an opportunity to play.
“And that’s all they want to do, no more, no less.
“I’d have high expectations of this bunch. I think they’re a really fine bunch.
“In general, I would say to you that Tipperary is very well organised.
“We are well supported, we’re well funded, the machine needs nothing, perhaps a change here or a tweak there but it’s not like the engine needs a complete overhaul. Hopefully it’s a bit of fine-tuning and tweaking.”
Ryan is currently operating with a panel of 40 ahead of Tipp’s opening Division 1A clash with Dublin on Saturday week, and he is more than pleased with the competition for places.
He confirmed: “Very happy so far, they’re trying to do all the things to the best of their ability but you get that at this time of the year, when you inject a little bit of new blood, it’s really good for the collective.
“And so it is, I think the experienced are finding it a different challenge, these young turks are arriving and they want to have a go.
“It’s just a real, healthy natural environment and probably mirrors what’s going on in all the other hurling counties.”
Following the retirements of Lar Corbett, James Woodlock, Shane McGrath and Conor O’Mahony, Ryan believes opportunity knocks for places not only in his panel, but also on the starting 15.
He added: “I think one of the most noticeable things is there’s opportunity opened up here.
“That happens all the time, we’re constantly changing in all facets of life and sport is no different.”
Ryan opted to forsake the pre-season Munster senior hurling league for a series of challenge matches but insisted Tipp will be ready for the visit of the Dubs to Thurles.
He said: “I think we will be ready. We set out our stall, we had quite a tight window for ourselves to get ready from a hurling perspective as opposed to physical work, lots of that has taken place pre-Christmas.
“But it’s great to have a focus, it’s the start of an absolutely hectic six-week period and we literally won’t get time to draw breath so we have to be prepared.
“In terms of doing further training or conditioning work, it’s literally almost game by game by game, you’re not getting a huge amount of additional work done.”
Ryan, who admits he steers clear of social media, and is not a Twitter or Facebook user, is ready for the spotlight that’s coming his way.
He explained: “If you were to be a slave to all forms of media, social media, print, radio whatever, the tail will be wagging the dog.
“The ones I feel more concerned for are the players themselves. They are the guys that cross all the lines, they entertain, we love them, we are not happy when they are not playing well or don’t win. They are young, are out socialising, have girlfriends or whatever is going on in their lives.
“The likes of me can cocoon myself away in Upperchurch and nobody bothers me.
“They (Twitter/Facebook) are bad ideas for me in this situation.”
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