WATERFORD HURLING MANAGER Michael Ryan was magnanimous in defeat to Cork yesterday, admitting the Rebels were ‘a little bit better’.
“We’re a bit disappointed,” said Ryan in the wake of the 1-19 0-19 defeat to Jimmy Barry Murphy’s side at Semple Stadium.
“There were two decisive stages in the game. Just before half-time we’d come back to go a point up and conceded two points in a minute, and so they went in ahead. Then we were three points up in the second half, had a couple of good chances, didn’t take them.
“At the end of the day, they were that little bit better than us to be honest about it. They took their chances and seemed to get scores more easily than we did. Congratulations to them — they’re a fine side.”
Waterford looked to be on course for another All-Ireland semi-final — this time against Galway — but a late rally from Cork saw them edge clear in the end.
“They had a very strong bench and were playing with the wind,” said Ryan. “It’s about momentum really — they hit the front at exactly the right stage in the game. Even after that we had a couple of chances and we hit the post. They hit the front with four of five minutes to go after going behind and it’s very hard to reel somebody in at that stage.
“When they had the momentum behind them they were playing with the wind, they’re a young team and have a lot of good hurlers and took their chances very well. It certainly wasn’t a lack of fitness. We scored six goals in eight games this year – that’s something we have to look at. It’s not good enough.”
So the summer ends for the Déise in Thurles but Ryan insists his tenure with the county side will continue. He told reporters that he was happy to continue after an encouraging debut at the helm.
“I think we’ve made progress. We started as a new management team to build a team and to introduce five or six new players. We’ve made progress but having said that, there’s still an awful lot of work to do. Two years – don’t worry, I’ll be around!” he said. “Gutted, no two ways about it and there’s no way to mask it. I couldn’t fault the lads for effort. But we could do with making a few goal chances and hopefully next year we’ll have the likes of Darragh (Fives), Shane O’Sullivan and Brian O’Sullivan. We’ll try to increase the strength of our panel and look for a few other guys.”