Why oh why do supporters of Waterford feel the need to look for a crisis where there are none? Michael Ryan’s first big decision as manager, leaving Eoin Kelly off the panel, has produced a predictable bout of angst. Ryan is flexing his muscles, it’s a publicity stunt, there has to be something more to it etc. We even had the bizarre sight of Damien Tiernan darkly suggesting that “there is more to the Eoin Kelly/ Waterford hurling management dispute than has been said”. Um, isn’t it your job to find out for us? A case for Prime Time Investigates, perhaps. Then again, given their record, we never know what might come out of that.
The truth seems straightforward, or at least people would want to have stronger evidence than a-feeling-in-me-waters to dispute Michael Ryan’s account, one that doesn’t seem to have been contradicted by Eoin Kelly. He was asked to discuss his lack of fitness and refused to do so, fully cogniscant of what that refusal meant. Please don’t take as a cut at Eoin Kelly, a suggestion that’s he’s lazy or feckless. God knows how much effort he put into turning himself into an inter-county quality free-taker, effort that no other player would have had to put in. This is clear evidence of his commitment to the Waterford cause throughout the years and his willingness to put in the hard yards. And there’s no obligation on him to put in any effort if he doesn’t want to. But there are consequences to rebuffing the manager. There have to be, and he knows it. Yet that still won’t stop people speaking on his behalf, because [sarcasm] he’s always been such a demur character up until now [/sarcasm]. Thank goodness we have the unsilent majority to speak up for him.
It’s almost as if we want to justify our failure to land the McCarthy Cup on the basis that there is too much feuding in the county rather than much more obvious sources such as bad luck (yeah, I’ve said it) or not being good enough. And the killing part is that these things become self-fulfilling prophecies. People post on the internet about the infighting in Waterford GAA that they’ve read about on the internet. We really need to give Michael Ryan some space. At least give him the chance to screw up before we start calling him a screw-up.