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'When the Titanic left Belfast, it was in a good place and when I left Waterford hurling, it was in a good place as well'

No surprise to Michael Ryan that Waterford are riding high.

Waterford hurling boss Michael Ryan.
Waterford hurling boss Michael Ryan.
Image: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

WATERFORD’S RISE TO league glory was the most eye-catching hurling narrative this spring but it was no surprise to their former boss.

Michael Ryan’s tenure as Waterford boss ended controversially in August 2013 when the Deise players voted in favour of a new manager.

His replacement Derek McGrath steered Waterford to league glory last Sunday with a final win over Cork and Ryan believes that potential was always there.

“I think there’s tremendous potential in that team. When the Titanic left Belfast, it was in a good place and when I left Waterford hurling, it was in a good place as well. I’m not surprised.

“I love their enthusiasm, their zest for the game. I think they’ll beat a lot of teams.”

Waterford players celebrate with the cup Waterford's players celebrate last weekend's victory Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Ryan has no problems with the system Waterford are employing and does not rule out their capacity to thrive in the championship.

“You look at Clare two years ago. Waterford I think are in the same position, they play the same type of good game. I don’t think there’s any really outstanding team out there at the moment, that may change.

The championship is wide open. You could well see Waterford and Clare in a Munster final, that wouldn’t surprise me.

“You do what you have to do to win. Clare did the same thing a couple of years ago. I think it’s too simple to say the system is winning the game, the players are winning the games.”

Brendan Murtagh Brendan Murtagh is one of the Westmeath players that Ryan is in charge of now. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Ryan’s current role is at the helm of the Westmeath hurlers after being appointed last October. They got their Leinster round-robin campaign off to a flying start last Sunday against Laois with Antrim next up this week.

I had no notion of taking the Westmeath job but I met the chairman and the secretary, and their enthusiasm (was great).

“Then I went up and saw a few club games, people in Westmeath are very serious about their hurling, like they are in lots of other counties.

“I’ve been managing teams all my life, it’s a kind of a drug I have. I always look for people who are interested and Westmeath people are interested and the players are interested, so here I am.”

Can Waterford’s hurlers carry League form into the championship summer?

‘That was for Derek’ – Waterford star dedicates League title to boss McGrath

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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