In the end, it was straightforward. Take submissions from interested parties and put out feelers to parties of interest. Assemble the interview panel. Conduct interviews. Recommend best candidate. Appoint candidate. It would have been nice if the plain people of Waterford had been kept posted as to progress through each stage of the process, but you can’t accuse the selection committee of leaving any stones unturned or not giving everyone a fair chance. You might argue that if it had acted more promptly that we could have gotten the ideal candidate quicker, but that assumes there was a universally popular JBM-style candidate out there. So kudos to the selection committee for giving Michael Ryan a clear mandate as the new Waterford senior hurling manager.
When Waterford won the Munster title in 2002, the still sadly-missed Breaking Ball had an interview with Paddy Joe Ryan were he said that upon becoming the chairman of the County Board he had identified the need to bring in an outside manager as his top priority. It wasn’t a case that it would be preferable, it was essential that any manager came from outside to avoid what Ryan presumably thought was the insoluble faction-fighting that plagues Waterford hurling. Whether you think this was reasonable or not, the perception was there and few would have quibbled with his assessment – or, as he sat there clutching the Munster Cup, the results
You would have hoped though after fourteen years of outsiders that such nonsense would have gone the way of Division 3 hurling for the county. Alas, the perception is still there as Michael Ryan finds himself having to scotch suggestions of a rift with De La Salle. There doesn’t seem to be anything sinister to it but if you want to start as you mean to go on then it’s not the most auspicious of beginnings. Time for us all to take a leaf out of Peter Queally’s book and stop playing silly buggers.
One final thought on the whole management selection process. We’ve had the names of Jason Ryan, Kevin Ryan and Michael Ryan bandied about. Where are all the Powers? It’s bad enough that we’ve had an outsider all these years, but even when we pick one of our own they have a Tipperary name. Whether it be quotas, name changes or forced marriages, something must be done to bring the name of De Paor back to the forefront of Waterford hurling. Put in a plan now and we might have one within fourteen years.