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Tipperary manager Michael Ryan.
Tipperary manager Michael Ryan.

Michael Ryan: 'The greatest pitfall for us is perception'

Even as silverware was being accumulated Michael Ryan refused to get carried away.

The Allianz Hurling League Final loss to Galway was a severe disappointment, but Tipperary's thoughts immediately switched to Sunday's Munster SHC assignment against Cork.

"Number one, we're not unaccustomed to losing matches," Ryan says about the Galway defeat.

"We're not Kilkenny. We have lost our share of matches. I have been involved in them both as a player, selector and now manager. That was against the grain. We didn't see it coming. Kudos to Galway, outstanding team on the day.

"I think we would have been stretched to our absolute limits to live with them even had we turned up. It concluded our run in the League, wasn't the script we had written for ourselves, but it's the reality we have. In terms of how we dealt with it, back to the drawing board. It concluded that part and we have to look ahead to the Munster Championship."

Now that Tipperary are about to put their Munster and All Ireland titles on the line, what are the pitfalls in the coming months for the Premier County? "The greatest pitfall for us is perception, that you are better than you are, that somehow ye play out matches without ever a ball being struck," Ryan states.

"That's never the case. The matches are won within the white lines. Anybody can beat anyone else in Munster. We love it. The Munster Championship is a fantastic competition. It's timeless. It conjures all sorts of images of fantastic men, absolute legends and all these Cu Chulainn like figures doing battle all over Munster. That's what the Munster Championship is and I genuinely believe any result that happens in Munster will not shock me. It is a very finely balanced competition."

To illustrate his point Ryan highlights Tipperary's recent record against Limerick down south. "This time last year I would have said the same thing, Limerick had beaten us in two out of three meetings," Ryan remarks.

Michael Ryan before the Allianz Hurling League Semi-Final against Wexford at Nowlan Park.
Michael Ryan before the Allianz Hurling League Semi-Final against Wexford at Nowlan Park.

"This is real, this happens. Those aren't fake results. That was us trying to do our best and Limerick trying to do their best.

"Munster Championship is a little bit different. You've got tremendous rivalry, every game is a cup game or a derby game. It can throw up the most fantastic games and the most fantastic results.

"I say that in the knowledge that I could be at the wrong end of one. That's the lure of the Munster Championship. We were Munster champions last year as well. Has it changed anything for us? Not really.

"What we really need to do is focus on the game in front of us. And we have no intention of doing anything other than that."

Ryan is adamant that a developing Cork outfit is 'in very good shape' ahead of the Thurles tussle. "Our last meting with Cork in Pairc Ui Rinn was a fabulous game," Ryan says.

"It had a real climax. we were trying to press and press and couldn't. Cork got the couple of scores to win.  We are under no illusions. Cork are a very fine side, they have a stronger panel than last year and I believe they have had a good, they'll be happy with their League campaign in terms of what they wanted to achieve, I suspect.

"For us, this is an absolutely huge test, it couldn't be any bigger than May 21 with Cork coming to town. It's a Cork team that has got a fair bit of flak during 2016 as far as I was concerned, what better motivation. 

"If you keep kicking someone you'll get a reaction. I believe Cork are in very good shape."

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