Pat Ryan: Cork U20s training at home and focused on All-Ireland final

Young hurlers will face Dublin or Galway in the coming months when restrictions are eased
Pat Ryan: Cork U20s training at home and focused on All-Ireland final

Cork manager Pat Ryan on the line in the Bord Gáis Energy Munster U20 Hurling final. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

CORK U20 hurling manager, Pat Ryan has a big day to look forward to in the All-Ireland final but he doesn’t know when that day will be.

Cork swept to the Munster championship title on the 23rd of December, defeating Tipperary in the final at Pairc Ui Chaoimh and it was a wonderful Christmas present for the players at his disposal.

As a result, that victory set up an All-Ireland final meeting with the Leinster champions, Galway or Dublin who have yet to decide that issue.

However, as things stand because of the Covid crisis, Ryan, like everybody else, is in the dark about when the big day can be pencilled in.

“Nobody knows at the moment, that’s the way it is for everybody else but it’s something for us to focus on and to look forward to when it happens.

“The Leinster final has not taken place yet so we don’t know who our opponents will be, it will be Galway or Dublin but we must wait and see." 

TRAINING AT HOME

With no collective training or anything like that, the Cork boss told The Echo that the players are doing their own bits and pieces at home on an individual basis and doing a bit of running within the 5km radius that has been set down among the restrictions.

“Yes, the lads are doing their own individual programmes at home. That programme is set out for them by Adam McCarthy in conjunction with Aidan O’Connell and they are doing the best they can.

“We keep in contact with them through Zoom calls as well but we try to keep that at a minimum because those lads are on computers most of the day anyway with studies or work.

“But look, the All-Ireland final is something for them to focus on, it’s good for mental health too.

“These lads are sensible guys anyway, they look after themselves and whenever the green light is given to commence training again, I know they will be good shape."

The former star player with his club Sarsfields and Cork was delighted with how things panned out in the Munster championship but he’s hoping to travel the extra mile when things start up again.

“Yes, to win the Munster title was great. It was a very fragmented season and it’s a great credit to the lads that they stayed focused and motivated throughout.

“You kind of had three or four pre-seasons in one and the final did not get played until two days before Christmas.

“That in itself was very unique and it was great for all of us that are involved. We had three games to win it, against Kerry, Limerick and Tipperary in the final.

Pat Ryan celebrates with Eoin Carey after beating Tipp. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Pat Ryan celebrates with Eoin Carey after beating Tipp. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

“Tipperary had been a bit of a bogey team for Cork in this grade for a few years so it was great for us to get one over on them this time.

"I was delighted with how the lads applied themselves in that game and in the other games against Kerry and Limerick.

I think it was important for Cork hurling to finish the year on a high note and to have something to look forward to going into the next."

STRONG SQUAD

Ryan and his management team have assembled a very fine squad of players and the team boss believes that there is a lot of very good hurling talent in the county right now.

“There is, outside of the squad of players that we are allowed on match days, there are plenty more challenging them. There is fierce competition for places on the starting 15 and that makes our job harder but that’s the way you want it.

“I believe that over the past three or four years the good work that is being put in on the ground, the development work is starting to really pay off.

Previously, Denis Ring and Johnny Dwyer did great work in this grade and they were just unfortunate not to have got over the finishing line.

“But outside of Tipperary, Cork have been the best county in this grade of hurling for a few years and that is good for the future overall." 

So, it’s a wait-and-see game now for Ryan, his backroom team and players.

“That’s it, we are in an All-Ireland final, we will go all out to win it when we get the opportunity of doing so.

“We’ll have a look at the Leinster final when that happens and take it on from there."

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