THE coaching of Pat Ryan has been critical to the Cork hurlers’ impressive performances in the Munster championship to date.
That’s the view of selector Pat Hartnett, head of Sunday’s sold-out provincial final against Clare at Thurles, 4pm, which will be preceded by the same counties doing battle in the minor decider at 2pm.
Ryan has taken full control of the coaching this season after Frankie Flannery departed, and the Sars club man has a young side containing four U21s hurling with zip and confidence.
"You have to praise the coach,” said Hartnett. “Let's call a spade a spade. He's been an integral part of this. He's done a fantastic job.
“They're playing the way they've been coached. He deserves huge credit for that. And it's all under the auspices of Kieran Kingston obviously.
“Guys all play their part in different ways. That's why it doesn't matter about which one of the selectors and you must buy into that. It really doesn't matter. It's modest, it's humble, but things can be achieved if that's the way it is. But huge credit to Pat Ryan."
Declan O’Sullivan is in charge of the fitness side of the players’ training, and Hartnett also believes he deserves the plaudits.
“They're doing justice now to the way they have trained. They're in super condition through Declan O'Sullivan and they've been well-coached, we're playing the way we've been coached.”
Gary Keegan, renowned for his role when the Irish boxers were thriving at the Olympics, is also involved, but more as a consultant, with John Meyler and Diarmuid O’Sullivan the other selectors alongside Kingston, Ryan and Hartnett.
“We met Gary a couple of times, that's it. Everyone plays a part. It's all under the umbrella of Kieran's management. And I think he's hired up when he's brought guys in.
“But it goes back to the players really. I really can't say that enough. The senior players. From Anthony Nash who's been sublime, all the way down to someone like Colm Spillane and the way he has responded.
“He did the cruciate last year and came back and has been phenomenal for us. Damien Cahalane... Stephen McDonnell has been a revelation for us, both on and off the field.”