Tipperary senior hurling manager Michael Ryan.
Speaking in the aftermath of the Allianz National Hurling League semi-final win over Limerick on Saturday at Semple Stadium, Thurles (2-31 to 1-31) Tipperary manager Michael Ryan revealed that he expected the up-coming Munster Senior Hurling Championship to be an “absolute belter”.
Tipperary, of course, will launch their provincial campaign against Limerick in the opening round of the revamped Munster Senior Hurling Championship on Sunday, May 20th (2pm) at Páirc na nGael in Limerick.
“I would say that you can put your money down on that: it will be an absolute belter,” Michael Ryan revealed to the assembled press corps.
“But, look, we knew it. It is always like that without ever putting this (new) structure in place. Now we all have to go through the process of playing each other home and away every single week - everyone plays everybody else. It's novel and at this point (of the year) it bodes exceptionally well, but I have been saying that for years,” the Upperchurch-Drombane man added.
“The Munster championship: don't touch it - it's great anyway. But, now, this (structure) is with a twist - three will go forward and two will go out. I think that's the tragedy of the Munster championship, but, look, it is what it is.”
Speaking specfically with relation the performance of his side against Limerick Michael Ryan said: “We are pleased to win and that is what it was all about - to come here and to try to win these matches. To be fair great credit is due to both sides. It was a titanic struggle. Fair play to our lads for pushing in a couple of goals which put a little bit of daylight (between the sides), but daylight and this Limerick side does not seem to matter. They keep coming at you and they got a great goal to make it a one-score game. Look, it was titanic stuff, but it was (two) Munster teams and there were no surprises to be honest. I have been saying it for years: anyone in Munster can beat each other on a given day and it bodes very well for the Munster championship coming up.”
Michael Ryan, who is now preparing to guide Tipperary into a league final against Kilkenny, also revealed that his panel of players still have plenty of work to do.
“We have lots of work to do,” Michael Ryan admitted.
“We are not even in April - this is the end of March, but everything (this year) is coming at us a bit quicker and it is the same for everybody. Look, we certainly have things to work on. There is a lot of work going on up at training and, as I said, we are still waiting to get a couple of players back (from injury). It has been match to match to match and we don't get a lot of time (to work on our hurling) and even this week our time will be restricted as we have to prepare for a league final. The work has to wait and we will no sooner be finished with that league final and the lads will be straight into club activity. It's a tricky period that we have got to manage, but, look, that's fine and that's what we have got to do.”
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