John Considine has no doubts that new Cork senior hurling manager Pat Ryan was the best person for the role.
While Considine – a member of the successful 1990 Cork team and later manager as the county won the All-Ireland minor in 2000 and the one-off U17 competition in 2017 – knows that he may stand accused of bias in favour of his fellow Sarsfields man, he feels that Ryan’s breadth of experience ensures he was the best candidate.
After helping Sars to end a 51-year wait for a county SHC title in 2008, Ryan – an All-Ireland medallist in 1999 – won another medal in 2010. Upon his retirement at the end of 2011, he immediately became manager and the Seán Óg Murphy Cup returned to Riverstown in 2012 and 2014.
From there, he was involved in Kieran Kingston’s senior management as coach and selector in 2016 and 2017 and was appointed county U20 manager in the autumn of 2019, guiding Cork to back-to-back titles – the first time the county had been successful in the grade since 1998.
“Nobody else could have that,” he says.
“You now have guys who’ve won All-Irelands with him and know what he’s about. He is the right appointment, full stop.
“It’s also in keeping with Cork have been trying to do in terms of bringing guys through from the underage. Fellas have come in at Rebel Óg and gone up through minor level.
“Pat had been in Rebel Óg years ago, he’s gone to the 20s and he’s now going on. Pat has done it at all levels and he has the knowledge.
“From talking to people, I think he would be the most widely-respected appointment as well. Bringing that with you is important and I think he’ll have a huge backing from the public.
“That is vital because, while I think Cork are ready [to contend], it ain’t going to be plain sailing. It’s going to be tough at times – the players are coming up but they’re still getting there.”
Ultimately, Considine believes that Ryan ticks all of the relevant boxes.
“There’s something right about this appointment – it all fits,” Considine says.
“This guy has served his time and done a very good job anywhere he’s been. There are no guarantees but if I was given the job of appointing the manager, it would have been Pat though I’d probably have been accused of bias!
“He has the background – he’s played and has club underage and senior management experience. It’s hard to imagine anybody else coming in with a better level of experience – he must one of the best-prepared first-time senior inter-county managers.
“I can’t see there being any reason to doubt this appointment. I know I’m Sars and I’ve worked with him and I like him, but what possibly could not be right about this is beyond me.
“He knows the players, he has a great understanding of hurling.
“As a Cork person, I feel good about it.”
Former Wexford player Éanna Martin, who played under Ryan for the 2012 and 2014 county wins, is also of the view that the new boss will be a success.
“He was really progressive, very organised and a good players’ man as well,” he says.
“The players loved him and he had a good relationship with the lads from having played with them.
“He had a great understanding of the game, he was a serious hurler himself. He was good for a bit of advice and that but he never over-complicated the thing, either.
“A big thing Pat would have always said was to trust your hurling, trust the work you have done and it would fill you with confidence – ‘You’re on the team because you’re a good hurler, so go hurl.’
“Obviously, inter-county hurling is very different to club but Pat had two years in there with Kieran in 2016 and 2017 and then there was the success he had with the 20s, so he’s worked with the vast majority of the players that are in there.
“I think it’s a great appointment for Cork and thoroughly deserved from Pat’s point of view. If you’re a Cork player, you’d be delighted.
“For Pat, the big difference from the U20s is that he’s going to have a national league to look at,” he says.
“It’s a longer year, with more games, but I think he’ll put his own stamp on things straightaway.
“Cork have a lot to work off, plenty of good hurlers, so I wouldn’t see it as being a case of reinventing the wheel. Pat will sit down now and look at everything, he’s a hurling man anyway so he’s obviously been looking at Cork over the last number of years and I’m sure he knows exactly what he wants to do.”