Mrs d has a great love for all things medieval and monastic, so on our second trip together to Ireland I suggested that Mount Melleray might be a nice place to visit. As we set out for west Waterford she inquired as to what state the buildings were in. A moment passed while I tried to work out what she meant, and then it hit me: she thought the building was a ruin. Her face when she realised that there was a working monastery in Waterford was even more of a joy than usual to behold.
And the Waterford County Board must be grateful for the existence of Mount Melleray as a place where they can carry on their deliberations on the identity of the next senior hurling manager. As with the departure of Davy Fitz the vacuum of information is total and we are left to rely on sources that might as well come with inbuilt inverted commas. A column from Dermot Crowe in yesterday’s Sindo typifies the genre, with Jason Ryan being touted as the front-runner. This is despite Ryan saying:
he had not applied for the job and that he wasn’t nominated by the clubs, while also stating that there were other candidates in contention who deserved respect and due recognition. However, as with any management appointment process, informal discussions can take place and it is believed that a six-man sub-committee has been in contact with Ryan.
“It is believed”? In other words, he’s guessing. About the best can be said for this is that Dermot has had a conversation with someone who is convinced that the six-man panel (whoever they are) are gravitating towards Ryan. Woodward and Bernstein it ain’t.
Still, articles like this do serve a function in that they give us something to talk about. And I have to admit that the notion of Ryan taking over is an intriguing one. His success with Wexford was built on neither a robust inheritance from underage teams (it was only this year that they won anything at those levels) or the talismanic powers of a great player (their run to the Leinster final this year was achieved without Mattie Forde). His achievements there far outweigh those accrued at inter-county level by the other people being mooted for the job. Yes, even those of Liam Dunne.
Of course, there is the small matter of him never having managed a hurling team, something noted by @LDelpiero on Twitter:
Why not ask Trapitoni if he is interested then? They are different games!
One is tempted to be glib and observe that Trap would at least stop the full-back line from leaking goals. On a more substantive note, anyone who has played Gaelic games in Waterford will be familiar with both sports at some level and Stradbally is proudly a dual club. What Ryan would hopefully bring to the table from his time with Wexford would be the ability to organise a team that can win what Nicky English referred to as the fourteen little battles. You’ll win more than half of the games where you are superior in eight positions, almost all of them where you are on top in nine, and where you win in ten or more positions you’ll have the 2011 Munster final. The Wexford County Board saw something in Jason Ryan four years ago that made them take a risk on the young Turk. Waterford would do well to take such a risk too. And if I’m wrong, I’ll become a monk at Melleray and take a vow of silence. It’s win-win!