Cork’s Pat Ryan tempers expectations after mauling of Tipperary

Chastening day for Tipperary following defeat means this is a county side now ‘officially in a real rebuild job’

In his public appearances, Pat Ryan’s demeanour rarely changes. The hurt he felt after Cork’s defeats in their opening two matches was cloaked in measured responses and an aversion to excuses. The joy he experienced over the last two weeks must have been exploding inside of him but he found the language to moderate it.

On Sunday there were no hard questions. Cork will qualify for the knock-out stages if Limerick or Waterford win in the Gaelic Grounds next Sunday; a draw would torpedo them. In the euphoria of an 18-point win, he couldn’t get away from the pesky maths.

“We’re still a bit disappointed, we’re not out [of Munster and into the All-Ireland],” he said. “We’ve played four games and we have four points. We didn’t deserve it [to qualify yet]. We can all see the ability that’s in those players, that’s in that panel, we all know it. We’ve seen the performance get steadily better and hopefully we’ll a bit of a rub of the green and get that third spot – but it’s all we deserve.

“We know we have potential. We’ve had potential for the last four or five years but just haven’t been able to bring it through. It’s about getting that consistency. Everyone can see that on a given day Cork can put in any performance.”


On other days, those performances were fragile and sometimes lacking in substance, but that hasn’t been the case for the last two weekends. Even though Cork have scored heavily in this year’s championship they haven’t always been clinical and that omission harmed them against Clare especially. On Sunday they made no mistake.

“I think the way we stuck at it again [was the thing that pleased me most],” Ryan said. “We were at it even when Tipperary had a run — we were tapping over scores, we were in the game. We showed savage intent. We stayed connected with what we wanted to do. Fellas were vocal, you could hear them and we were really, really connected.

“Last year a couple of times in games we kind of went out of it and stopped talking and when teams got a run on us they got too big a run on us. But I think in the last two games that’s the way we wanted to play, because look you’re playing really, really good teams and they’re going to get scores. You just can’t panic.

“Look, fellas will give out about the amount of scores we’ve conceded — look at the scores [in other games], there’s scores being conceded all over the place. From our point of view, you just have to be able to score 30 points plus now to win games.”

It was a chastening day for Tipperary and Liam Cahill didn’t try to hide from it. He has another year to run on his three-year term and he said that Tipp were “officially in a real rebuild job now”.

“Really difficult dressingroom down there,” Cahill said. “Players are absolutely gutted. That’s just not a reflection of the effort that has gone in with these group of fellas. What’s on the line is our good name and the integrity of the Munster championship.

“We have to bring our best performance next Sunday against Clare. We’ll analyse it, we’ll look back, it’ll make hard viewing but that’s what we do. We go back and try and be better and we’ll try and blood as many of the younger players that are on our panel and give them a taste of what proper senior intercounty championship is about. We have to roll up our sleeves and ensure we give a good account of ourselves and represent the jersey properly.”

Denis Walsh

Denis Walsh

Denis Walsh is a sports writer with The Irish Times