TJ Ryan leaves Limerick job after championship exit

TJ Ryan last night informed the Limerick County Board he will not be putting his name forward to manage the county next season.

The Garryspillane man was appointed as joint-manager alongside Donal O’Grady in 2013 and took the helm on his own following O’Grady’s decision to step down after a disagreement with the county executive following their 2014 league campaign.

Ryan guided Limerick to a Munster final and All-Ireland semi-final later that year but failed in the following two seasons to either guide the county from Division 1B or reach the All-Ireland quarter-final stages. Saturday’s defeat to Clare was their second consecutive defeat in the second round of the qualifiers.

Following the game, Ryan intimated he had brought Limerick as far as he could and an announcement would follow this week.

In a statement last night, the Limerick County Board confirmed the decision, adding: “CLG Coiste Contae Luimní would like to thank TJ for his commitment and time given over his three-year term as Limerick Senior Hurling Manager. We would also like to wish TJ and his family the very best into the future.”

Meanwhile former All Star Jim Greene has claimed that Waterford’s All-Ireland quarter-final clash with Wexford will be “the ultimate acid test of this team’s character”.

Greene said Derek McGrath and his Déise team have delivered enough to deserve leeway from the Waterford public after Sunday’s Munster final capitulation. He also described that July 24 derby as the most significant game yet under McGrath.

“I’ll tell you what this is, apart from being shit or get off the pot time, it’s an absolute judge of their character now, we’ll see what they’re made of. We’ll know after Wexford what this panel is made of, whether they have the bottle and the character to redeem themselves. I believe they will. But if they don’t, it will tell a story. It’s the ultimate acid test of this team’s character.

“If they can come back from this then there’s quality in you, there’s real substance.

“And if they win it then all of a sudden you’re back there, you’re in the thick of it again. So I’d keep the jury out until after the Wexford game. They’re vulnerable at the minute but they don’t need to be kicked while they’re down.

“They’ve given us enough big performances and big days out over the last two years to deserve that opportunity to pick themselves up.”

Greene compared Sunday’s 5-19 to 0-13 defeat to Tipp to the 1982 and 1983 final defeats to Cork that he was involved in himself. Cork beat Waterford by 31 points in ‘82 and by 19 the following summer.

“Sunday was just one of those nightmare days, it’s a hideous place to be. But players learn more on a day like that than they might for the rest of the year, or the rest of their careers. Our system just blew up. Tipp had their homework done. They forced the Waterford back line so far back that a sweeper was ineffective.”

Mount Sion man Greene, whose father, Paddy, and son, Brian, both won Munster medals with Waterford, reckons there’ll be tactical tweaks for the Wexford game.

“If it was my choice, I’d be going with six on six in the back line, go man to man and have a go... The very disappointing thing on Sunday was that we continued to defend a deficit, we kept our blanket defence and we allowed the Tipp half-back line and midfield to have it all their own way.”

McGrath himself admitted the five-goal mauling was “highly embarrassing”.

Said Greene: “I know how he feels. After those games I played in against Cork, I was hoping the ground would open up and swallow us all. But you can’t do anything about it only get going again. I don’t think he’ll abandon their style of play completely. I still think we’ll play with loose forwards, a running game, there’ll still be fellas coming in and out and covering ground. You can’t go from A to Z overnight with new game plans. But I think there’s room to meet in the middle... It’s a difficult job ahead of him.”


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