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'We’ve been hit by a train, it wasn’t in the plan' - Tipp boss to take time to assess after 2018 exit

Michael Ryan ‘gutted’ for his players after loss to Clare.

Tipperary hurling manager Michael Ryan.
Tipperary hurling manager Michael Ryan.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

TIPPERARY BOSS MICHAEL Ryan will take time to assess his future after they bowed out of the 2018 championship race yesterday.

Ryan agreed a new three-year term as manager last September but after defeat by Clare yesterday confirmed they will not claim one of the three qualification spots on offer in Munster, the 2016 All-Ireland winning manger believes it is ‘premature’ to make any decision on 2019.

“It’s premature lads to be honest. Any decision that we make on that, we’ll make them in the cold light of day. There’s never any good decisions made immediately after a match, be it a win or a loss.

“The only thing we care about is a very fine bunch of players inside there in that dressing room and the biggest thing, the overall thing is the health of Tipperary hurling.

“We’ve been hit by a train, it wasn’t in the plan so I think the test is ours in terms of how we regroup and how we come back and compete.

“I’m gutted for us. We tried everything we could to get something out of today – we knew how high the stakes were.  Unfortunately, it didn’t happen for us and it was very, very close.

“It was a fantastic game of hurling, exceptionally well played by both sides. I couldn’t be prouder of our fellas. They were absolutely outstanding and we got to a performance level that anyone would be happy with. But so too did Clare. They are a super team and great credit should go to them.”

Noel McGrath dejected after the game A dejected Noel McGrath after Sunday's game. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Tipperary’s performance levels saw a marked improvement yesterday but were still unable to secure their first win of the 2018 championship.

“What will bother us and keep us awake at night is that level of performance which was elusive,” admitted Ryan.

“We found it today but we didn’t get anything out of the game. If we had found that level of performance (in the other games), we may have taken something out of this championship.

“It’s too soon to say why it didn’t come together for us (in this championship). The first I’d do is credit all the team we played against. Munster is a brilliant province. All five teams are equal, capable of beating each other on a given day. There is no weak team in Munster. Maybe that sounds a bit rich of me saying that after being knocked out but I’d still hold that view.

“I didn’t see fatigue (today), if anything I saw the opposite. That was our (best) performance out of four, albeit we didn’t get anything out of it.

“I don’t think it’s perfect, that some teams get a break and some don’t. I know that they are going to alter that next year but that’s not the solution in my opinion.

“How do you get it right with five teams? You need another team to fix that so that everybody could get a break. However that’s above my pay grade. The disheartening thing had been the early performances. But we lost today and today we got knocked out of the championship.”

Tipperary lost the Borris-Ileigh pair Dan McCormack and Brendan Maher through injury at different junctures.

“I don’t know, it didn’t look good,” stated Ryan, in reference to Maher’s injury.

“I am just hoping for Brendan’s sake, and the rest of the lad’s sakes that they can recover and recover quickly. Hopefully that’s not what it might appear as in a knee issue or anything like that, so that he can go on and have a championship with Borris-Ileigh.

“In our plan, Noel (McGrath) for the second half was exactly what we had in our minds. The two boys collided. Tony Kelly was able to go on, Dan couldn’t. Those are small things and when they don’t go with you, they can set you back a little bit.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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