‘We want to make the U20s better hurlers for their clubs as well as Cork’

‘We want to make the U20s better hurlers for their clubs as well as Cork’
New Cork U20 manager Pat Ryan. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

PAT RYAN will take charge of the Cork U20 hurlers for the next two seasons, and the Sarsfields man welcomes the challenge, regarding it as a ‘fantastic opportunity.’

“Any player that would come into our group, we need to make them better hurlers for themselves and for their clubs, and we will get the knock on from that. They have to go back to their club a better player, a better athlete, better conditioned, better attitude and to be delivering for their club. That is one issue we will be trying to drive into them.

“Developing the player, the person, making them better kids, making them more grounded, making sure they are looking after their schoolwork, their jobs, that is all a holistic approach to the player.

“Winning is a huge part of it but we can’t put winning at the top, it has to be the development and hopefully winning comes out of that. Of course, we have to win. The more successful you are, the better they feel about themselves. Cork is all about having a winning culture.”

Ryan, who has held roles with club and county, has assembled a quality backroom team.

“Wayne Sherlock, who I have known for 25 years, played with and worked with. A fantastic guy from Blackrock, and hugely experienced.

“Donal O’Mahony from Bishopstown. I worked with Donal in 2016 and 2017 with the senior team. He is doing fantastic work in Christians (CBC), another very genuine, honourable guy.

“Brendan Coleman from Youghal, I played U21 with him in 1997 and played senior with him. Another great guy who has huge coaching experience between Youghal and west Waterford.

“Fergal Condon from Aghada is involved with Imokilly who are going for three-in-a-row in Cork. Fergal has done fantastic work with development squads. He is a very honest and genuine as well.

“They will all bring a genuineness, a soundness and a humbleness to what we want to get out of these players.”

Half of this year’s U20 panel are eligible next year.

“Maybe about 16 or 17 of them but there is no shortage of players. I’d like to pay tribute to Denis (Ring) and his management team. They have done fantastic work. I don’t think people realise how much they put into this group.

“There was no one more disappointed than them. They got a bit of stick for it, which was unwarranted at times. All you have to do is look at the panel Kieran (Kingston) will assemble for the seniors and you will see all the players that have gone through.”

Like every other year, expectations will be high.

“Every county is putting in serious work at underage with development squads. We will be very happy with whatever team we put out to play, and we will be expecting a big performance.

“The work the GDA’s, Ronan Dwane and his coaching officers and Kevin O’Callaghan in games administration are doing is fantastic. That is the key. Since I got this job, the amount of texts I have got from them is unbelievable, and from the outgoing management teams of the minor and U20s as well. The support has been fantastic.

“We are sorting out the rest of our management team at the moment. With regard to strength and conditioning, we are dealing with Aidan O’Connell who is a huge addition. We will be led by what the seniors are doing. There will be a head strength and conditioning coach at senior level. There will be assistant coaches then appointed all the way down.

“From our perspective, fellas will be playing Harty and Freshers, it will be after Christmas before we get back on the field. We will be outlining strength and conditioning programmes and physical testing so they will get a three-month block into them before Christmas.

“There is great camaraderie among us all — Kieran (senior), Donal Óg Cusack (minor), and Noel (Furlong, U16). That can only be positive. They are people who are working at the coalface and with their clubs. We are all going in the one direction. Everyone wants to put their shoulder to the wheel. I don’t think anyone wants to be a big-time Charlie.”

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