Paul Ryan not surprised to be facing Cork
Forward believes momentum was the key for Dublin
Dublin’s Paul Ryan with his GPA Player of the Month award for July. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
If everything about Dublin’s march to Sunday’s All-Ireland hurling semi-final comes down to timing then no one is better qualified to talk about it than Paul Ryan.
Truth is Dublin staged their pre-game press conference the day before their semi-final opponents were actually known: Ryan, however, has been back out to talk a couple of times since, and yesterday was also named the GAA/GPA hurler of the month for July - another small reward for hitting 2-7 in Dublin’s sensational Leinster final win over Galway.
So the first question, naturally, surrounded Cork, and what Dublin thought after Cork emerged as Sunday’s opponents, thanks to their quarter-final win over Kilkenny.
“I wasn’t surprised at all, to be honest,” said Ryan. “Cork are Cork. On any day they can beat anyone. And we know when they come up against us they are not going to want the capital to be beating them.
“They’ve got momentum too, and I suppose that’s just what has happened to us. I really think those two games against Wexford have brought us on that little bit more. Then we drew against Kilkenny and started believing a bit then. Just momentum really brought us through and we are starting to believe we can do greater things.”
Dropped after league
The Ballyboden St Enda’s forward has now scored 3-26 in total from Dublin’s five championship games, although it wasn’t all plain sailing: Ryan was actually dropped from the starting 15 after Dublin’s league campaign, and didn’t start in the first game against Wexford.
“Well I didn’t have the best of form at the start of the year and he (Anthony Daly) dropped me, and deservedly so. But then I came back into it, and I suppose had a bit of motivation there to keep my place. You don’t realise that until you get dropped. You are devastated at first but then you have to get your head around it very quickly.
“Dotsy (David O’Callaghan) has been back on form too, playing beside me, and he gave me a bit of encouragement as well.”
In the meantime Dublin’s footballers have also set up their semi-final date with Kerry, and while Ryan was quick to dismiss any talk of a Dublin double as “stupid”, he’s not limiting the success of Dublin hurling either, as long as the concentrate on their own page.
We’ve kind of kept to ourselves anyway. We know to keep away from all that because last year we started to pay attention to that, and look what happened.
“We got relegated. All we can control really is our own performance and if move away from that, we’ve nothing.”