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TJ Ryan on mental preparation, Páirc Uí Chaoimh memories and sleepless nights

The Limerick boss chats to us ahead of Sunday’s Munster hurling final.

Limerick boss TJ Ryan Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

1. Mental preparation…

“We’ve had a guy doing a bit of work with us, in fairness he’s been very positive. In sport, in the modern game, I feel getting the mental side is very important and we’ve done a bit of work on that. A lot of top teams in hurling, there isn’t a lot between them on any given day so it might come down to small areas so we’re looking for a little edge there. I’m not at liberty to say, it’s not a psychologist but it’s a guy that’s been helping us and been involved in another team.”

2. The threat of Cork…

“I was at the All-Ireland final last year, Cork came within seconds of being All-Ireland champions, people’s view on the last game would have been different if they had. They didn’t have a whole lot to fix to me.

“They definitely look a bit stronger, you’d have to be impressed with the way they went about their business the last day. They play pretty much orthodox, traditional hurling but very effectively.”

Patrick Horgan celebrates raising a green flag against Clare. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

3. Páirc Uí Chaoimh playing memories…

“A couple of good days. We beat Cork in ’96, went on to win the replay in the Munster championship against Tipp in Cork in ’96 too. We beat them again in the 2000′s but that’s history.

“The Munster final day is unique as I know having played in a few myself as a player. It’s a great day out, a great occasion but as we know occasions are for the fans. Hopefully I’ll get to enjoy it on the way home.”

4. Personal reaction to Tipperary win…

“Ah, huge, because I suppose, in sport, when you win, no matter what you did, if you were basically doing sets above in the Gaelic Grounds it would have been right. But when you lose everything gets questioned and everything you did was incorrect.

“I knew what we were doing was right. I was happy the way we were going. Maybe just to get a bit of a monkey off the back, to say to people, maybe he does know what he’s doing.”

TJ Ryan celebrates with Gavin O'Mahony TJ Ryan celebrates the victory with Gavin O'Mahony. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

5. The pressure of inter-county management…

“Big pressure. I don’t know how to phrase this, basically entangled deep into something, you do have these (sleepless nights). When you go down and put the head on the pillow at night, you are picking teams.

“I am driving through villages and I don’t remember it because you are (thinking of) trying to move fellas from corner forward to wing forward. That might sound funny but I think anybody who has done that and got involved in that, that does happen. To say this is easy street is far from it.”

6. The current state of Limerick hurling…

“You can never say that confidently with Limerick (that things are coming together) with its history. At the same time at the moment I would say it’s a good period. To have minors and seniors in two Munster Finals, two years in a row is a good achievement. There’s an awful lot of good people doing an awful lot of good work in Limerick.

“We can’t sit today thinking that everything is right. We’ve got to keep striving, keep looking for improvements. I like to think Limerick can be competitive every day they go out. We need to make sure in all aspects of Limerick, whether it is at board level, management level, player level, I think the bars are being raised and we have to keep them there.”

James Ryan and Wayne McNamara celebrate The Limerick hurlers celebrate after beating Tipperary. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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