Tipperary senior hurling manager Michal Ryan. Photo: Eamonn McGee
Following Sunday’s agonizing All-Ireland semi-final defeat suffered at the hands of Galway there is only one question on the lips of blue and gold supporters: what now for Michael Ryan and the Tipperary senior hurling team? One man, however, has no doubt about what should happen next. Indeed, County Board chairman Michael Bourke has called on Michael Ryan to remain in situ as Tipperary senior hurling manager.
Michael Ryan's two-year term came to a natural end on Sunday when Tipperary lost to Galway (1-18 to 0-22) at Croke Park, Dublin - since taking over as manager of the senior hurling team (succeeded Eamon O’Shea in 2015) the Upperchurch-Drombane has delivered a provincial and All-Ireland title. And, most significantly Michael Ryan has worked to transform what it means to be a Tipperary hurler; he has worked to transform the expectation of both the blue and gold supporters and the players.
As matters stand the roles of senior hurling manager, under-21 hurling manager and under-17 hurling manager are, technically, vacant.
The executive officers are expected to address the respective issues at the September meeting of the County Board with Liam Cahill (Ballingarry) the hot favourite to take over as under-21 boss.
Meanwhile it is understood that the County Board, led by chairman Michael Bourke, hope to persuade Michael Ryan to stay on as Tipperary senior hurling manager.
“I would be hopeful that they (the current senior management team) are the men to lead us forward,” County Board chairman Michael Bourke told the Tipperary Star's Noel Dundon.
“The shift that they have put in for the last two years has been phenomenal. They have had good days and low days, but they are there for the betterment of Tipperary. They have a squad of players that can work and be back again. There is always room for change, but once the leaders remain you can work with that. That will be Mick’s call at the end of the day,” Michael Bourke added.
Following Sunday's heart-breaking defeat Michael Ryan refused to speculate on this future.
“In the direct aftermath of any defeat it is never a good time to be thinking of those things,” Michael Ryan explained.
It is understood by the Tipperary Star that Michael Ryan will now take a number of weeks to consider his next move while also taking that time to consult with the members of his management team, a number of leading players and, of course, his family before making a decision.
The mood in the county was, perhaps, best captured by Brendan Cummins in his Irish Independent column this week when the Ballybacon-Grange man called for “continuity” before suggesting that Michael Ryan has Tipperary hurling “back on track”.
“Through a rocky period Michael Ryan did a great job in getting Tipp prepared to put up as big a fight as they did,” Brendan Cummins wrote.