Eoin Kelly: I was shocked to see Michael Ryan go, I thought he’d stay on

The two-time All-Ireland winner speaks on Michael Ryan’s surprise departure as Tipperary manager and looks closely at the leading candidates to replace him…

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My overriding feeling when I heard that Michael Ryan had stepped down as Tipperary manager was surprise.

For the last few weeks we’ve seen Michael attend Tipperary U21 games and club matches within the county, so you thought he was spotting talent for the future to bring in for the next couple of seasons with him in charge.

I suppose Micheal Ryan has finally had time to digest the whole Munster campaign now and he probably went away on holidays.

The news has had the heads of Tipperary supporters spinning though, it was just so unexpected.

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Loyal Ryan gave Tipperary everything

Maybe he came to this conclusion after watching the two All-Ireland semi-finals because it seemed to be all about power, pace and execution of passing and Tipp didn’t look like they were hurling as fluently as some of those teams that were in the last four.

He could have also just felt it’s time for Tipperary to go in a different direction. So, I’m very surprised he’s gone, I thought he’d be staying on.

Ryan played 10 seasons with Tipp as a player and nearly another 10 years as part of the management team, so he’s given nearly 20 years of service to the county’s senior hurling team.

What more can you ask of a man?

That just shows how loyal to the cause he is. Out of the last four All-Ireland’s Tipperary have won, he’s been involved in three of them. He was a player in 1991, a selector in 2010 and the manager of the 2016 winning team.

It’s not as if Tipperary are rolling off All-Ireland’s every second or third year either. He’s been involved in three of the best days in the counties history over the last 28 seasons.

Cutting through the candidates

Out of respect for whoever goes for it they should be allowed the time and space to put a full management team in place concentrating on the essentials required at this elite level of sport now.

Let’s look at some of the leading contenders:

William Maher

William Maher was involved when Tipperary minors won the All-Ireland in 2012 and had previously worked with Dublin minors. Then he worked with Waterford seniors in 2013 and was back as Tipperary U21 manager in 2016 & 2017 and so has been very close to the Tipperary underage scene over the last few years.

Brendan Cummins

The one thing that Brendan Cummins would drop everything for would be the Tipperary manager’s job. He’d definitely take the role if it came his way. He’s got a bit of coaching pedigree coming from Kerry and Laois over the last few years, so Brendan has been serving his apprenticeship alright.

Liam Cahill

Liam Cahill led Tipperary to the Minor All-Ireland final in 2015 and came back with them to win it in 2016. I suppose he’ll be disappointed with the U21’s being beaten well in the Munster final this year, but they gave the county a massive lift the night they beat Limerick in Thurles earlier in the season. It energised everybody, so Tipp people are kind of waiting to see how they end their campaign. If Tipperary turn around and win an U21 All-Ireland title, then Liam Cahill’s name will be right up there and that’s what happens.

Liam Sheedy

The players would love to see Liam Sheedy return. That could be a great outside shot, I’ll tell you he’s got a huge passion for Tipperary hurling. He’s been out of it for a good while now on the punditry side of it and sometimes the grá comes back to patrol those sidelines when you are out that long.

Nicky English

Nicky English probably won’t go for it just now as the timing just isn’t right, but Tipperary supporters would only love to see him back now or in the future and he would be an automatic choice then.#

Colm Bonnar

I’d say Colm Bonnar would stay loyal to Carlow because he’s already been talking a lot about next year with them. I believe he’ll stay where he is.

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What do you think?