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'Jesus, this bunch has suffered enough - but we've got to manage this'

It’s time for Tipperary to celebrate Munster success but the five-week gap between provincial glory and an All-Ireland semi-final will need careful monitoring.

Happy days: Michael Ryan celebrates Tipp's Munster final win.
Happy days: Michael Ryan celebrates Tipp's Munster final win.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

MICHAEL RYAN COLLECTED his first piece of silverware as Tipperary senior hurling manager yesterday and is confident that he can manage the five-week gap before an All-Ireland semi-final appearance on 14 August.

It was a break that scuppered Tipp’s All-Ireland ambitions last year as they fell to a semi-final defeat to Galway at Croke Park.

And Ryan admitted that over the winter months, he “agonised” long and hard over the reasons why the Premier County couldn’t reproduce their provincial winning form at GAA HQ.

In deference to the challenge that Tipp faced against Waterford in yesterday’s Munster final, Ryan insisted that he hadn’t given the potential five-week break any thought ahead of the game.

But it certainly occupied his thoughts during a number of dark nights after he succeeded Eamon O’Shea in the post last year.

“We agonised a lot over it over the winter months in terms of ‘did we miss out on something from Munster final to All-Ireland semi-final?’

“It’s a funny time to manage. Thankfully, our boys will be heading back to the divisional (club) semi-finals next week. That’s important.

“Pull it back then to four weeks and it becomes a different time frame to manage.

Cathal Barrett and Michael Cahill celebrate with the trophy Tipp corner backs Michael Cahill and Cathal Barrett with the Munster trophy. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“There is no exact science. There is only the Kilkennys of this world who have it nailed.

“They arrive on All-Ireland semi-final day right. The rest of us sometimes get it right; more often than not we’ve got it wrong. That’s the challenge for us.”

But in the immediate aftermath of yesterday’s impressive victory, Ryan was adamant that it was time to celebrate before recalibrating thoughts towards the All-Ireland series.

“Look, we are under no illusions. Today is 10 July.  

We get a rite of passage for five weeks time to an All-Ireland semi-final. It was exactly at this juncture last year that we fell flat and today we’ll enjoy this Munster final, it’s a big win for this group, but tomorrow we’ll immediately plan for five weeks time.

“We’ve been down this road before. Jesus, this bunch has suffered enough.

“We’ve experienced not enough highs and certainly too many lows.

Michael Ryan celebrates with his daughters Michael Ryan savours Munster success with his daughters at full-time. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“So, you know, there’s a lot of experience in there. But it is a challenge for us tomorrow morning, and tomorrow is when we’ll think about it, not today.

But we’ve got to manage this. And, you know, hopefully, and I’d like to think the Tipp public are behind this team, but not to have excessive expectations.

“Every opposition we play are worthy opposition. Whoever will turn up to play us in the semi-final will be a very worthy opposition.

“They’ll get our full attention as soon as they’re known. And in the meantime, we’ll focus on ourselves.”

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