Eoin Kelly: Michael Ryan should stay on as Tipperary boss if he wants to

The two-time All-Ireland winner looks into the Premier County’s surprise exit from the All-Ireland Hurling Championship and speaks on the future of the manager…


You’d have to be disappointed that Tipperary are eliminated so early from the All-Ireland Hurling Championship.

I don’t believe you can call it a ‘shock’ to be beaten on Sunday by Clare in Semple Stadium because it was always going to be a 50/50 contest going into it.

The killing thing about it all is, Tipp actually played their best stuff out of their four Munster Championship games for about 65 minutes.

I’m not looking for excuses, but the width of a post would have put them seven clear with five minutes to go and that would have been the game done-and-dusted. Then, Clare come down the field 18 seconds later and hit the back of the net.

It was just incredible!

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Tipp-ed overboard

Tipperary fought to the death over the last four weeks and they have definitely done some amazing hurling in that time.

I suppose the luck they got with the so-called ‘ghost goal’ against Waterford went against them when Jake Morris crashed that shot off the post.

You could easily call it a bit of karma.

The emphasis Tipp put on the National League may have been one reason they’re now out of the Championship. They really put everything into it, like they always do and that might have been a mistake with this new format.

Tipperary also has a huge amount of club teams playing senior, which meant the players had extra games in April. You’d have to wonder if they got their preparation wrong.

You were just hoping on Sunday that Tipperary could pull out a victory and keep in it. They got off to a bad start against Limerick and they just never recovered from there.

Broken backs

The main issue all year though has been the Tipperary back line. Throughout the season we’ve seen constant switching in that area.

That brings uncertainty and there just seemed to be a small bit of jumpiness there. That was evident in Tipp’s defending against Clare, the free count was massive.

The back line never seemed to be settled. Whereas, from the midfield to up to the forwards you could probably pick seven of the eight.

To start having a system or ‘style’ you need a fairly settled defence and we haven’t had that. Just look at Galway’s six backs, they are All-Ireland contenders because they know what they have.

Babs wrong to call for change

After what I saw at Semple Stadium on Saturday, I believe Michael Ryan should stay on. If he wants to stay on. I’d have no problem with that.

He certainly should be given room to think and assess where he believes it all went wrong this season.

The lack of a settled back line is one thing he’ll look at. The unity just didn’t seem to work there.

But, Babs calling for his head after getting knocked out by the width of a post is just plain wrong for me, especially doing it the day after it happens. We might also need some fresh talent in the panel though.

Attention will turn to the Tipperary U-21s now, to see can we get some pace and young blood into the team. Reading into what Michael Ryan said after the game, I don’t believe he’s going anywhere. He’s only one year into a new three-year deal anyway.

What now for Tipp

Everyone in Tipperary has to move on from being All Ireland champions in 2016. We all just have to put it to bed. It should have been put to bed before the first League game in 2017.

Inter-county hurling is so competitive now that you are only as good as your last game. People outside of Tipperary seem to latch on and get mileage out of it when things are going wrong for us. That’s probably owing to the great tradition Tipperary have.

Some of the pundits will love to see that Tipperary are out too!

We know we have a seriously-talented squad, though. There will be soul searching done and Michael Ryan will need to consider how he’s going to rejuvenate some of these players.

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What do you think?