Michael Ryan: 'It just wasn't to be'
By Cian O'Connell
It was a defeat which hurt Tipperary to the core, but manager Michael Ryan was an honourable figure providing his post match assessment at Croke Park.
Having served the Tipperary cause in a variety of roles for much of the past three decades Ryan acknowledged the pain that his players suffered following the loss.
“Needless to say we have a very disappointed bunch in our dressing-room,” Ryan admitted. “That is what you do, you put your best out there and you do your absolute best. Nobody knows the result of a hurling match.
“Otherwise, you wouldn’t get 60,000-odd here to shout their teams on. I thought it was a very finely balanced game right throughout. There was literally nothing in it. What a fantastic score Joe Canning pulled off at the end. It was fantastic. He is a heart-breaker. It is not his first time.”
When asked whether Tipperary performed to their maximum capability in 2017, Ryan was keen to praise Galway. “I think we got close on occasions,” Ryan replied.
“Credit to opposition, too, let’s talk about this game here. I thought that is a really, really good Galway team.
“I thought the match-ups and advantages that we dealt with on another… really and truly, there was nothing in it. If you look back over the last couple of years, that is exactly the margin that has been in it, whether to our advantage or not.”
How disappointing was it for Tipperary not to retain the All Ireland title? “It didn’t impact on our group,” Ryan stated.
“In terms of retaining anything, it was the opportunity that was. Up to today, that opportunity was alive. You can’t win a final unless you are in it. Today was obviously the most important day that we’ve played in 2017. We’ve just come up one-point shy to a very, very fine Galway team.”
Canning’s last gasp intervention impressed Ryan. “I just thought we had worked really, really hard to tie it up,” he said.
“But, to be fair, when that opportunity fell to Joe Canning, he took it. It is harsh on any team to lose that kind of a match. This is the exact reverse of what happened last year. We beat them by a point. We lost by a point in 2015.
“We are no stranger to these tight games with Galway. I just thought they were really, really good here. So too were our guys. A great bunch of fellas. They tried so hard to stay in that game and get something out of it. It just wasn’t to be.”