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'Limerick's such a competitive environment from a sporting point of view' - Brian Ryan

Minor boss says that Limerick no longer fear Kilkenny, or anyone.

Brian Ryan has high hopes for his young Limerick team.
Brian Ryan has high hopes for his young Limerick team.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

THIS IS THE BEST state Limerick hurling has been in for almost two decades according to their minor manager Brian Ryan.

Limerick take on Kilkenny in Sunday’s All-Ireland minor hurling final, as the county go in search of their first title in 20 years at the grade.

But according to their manager they have nothing to fear, despite facing a county who have won it on eight occasions since Limerick’s last triumph in 1984.

“For this bunch of Limerick players it is slightly different because they have had success in college’s hurling.

“This is a new generation of Limerick hurlers who have had success at school’s level and had reasonable success at minor level so I don’t think they are in awe of anyone.”

Limerick's Sean Finn and Ronan Lynch celebrate Limerick's Sean Finn celebrates with Ronan Lynch. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

For Ryan, the success of both Ard Scoil Ris and Doon CBS has produced a conveyor belt of talent which will mean continued success at not only underage level, but also in the senior ranks.

Ronan Lynch who managed 13 points in the Treaty’s devastating semi-final win over Galway three weeks ago, also won a Harty Cup medal with Ard Scoil Ris little over six months earlier.

“Ronan (Lynch) is one of a number of prospects who I believe have the potential to go on and play senior hurling, but it is a huge gap.

“I’ve been 19 years involved in hurling in Limerick. And from an underage point of view it is the best I have seen it. From the point of view of being organised and co-ordinated and having full buy in from all involved; Bord na Nog, the senior board and the clubs, that is all very healthy.

“There are good coaches being put in place and we need that in Limerick because it is such a competitive environment from a sporting point of view.”

Eamon Cregan 11/2/2013 Selector Eamon Cregan was inducted into the GAA Museum Hall of Fame last year. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Limerick put back-to-back Munster titles together after a replay win over Waterford in late July, before then crushing Galway by fifteen points in the semi-final.

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In doing so they enacted revenge for the Hawk-eye debacle which knocked them out of last year’s championship at the same stage. Yet despite still containing a large number of last year’s panel, and despite reaching a first minor final since 2005, Ryan insists his team are not hindered by the pressure of now being “favorites”.

“When you are the last team standing there is pressure on you. There is and has been pressure all year.

“We have been favorites for this All-Ireland from the start of the year and that’s an unusual position for a Limerick team to be in. But we seem to be coping fairly well.”

No doubt a big aid in that coping process is selector Eamonn Cregan. The vastly experienced former Limerick player and manager was last year inducted into the GAA Hall of Fame.

“He’s a very fine sportsman and the experience and the calmness he brings to the dressing room is important. And I think he brings a status to the whole set-up particularly for the parents of the players who know there are experienced men in the set up and we are serious about our business.”

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