Ryan says Kildare coaching job is perfect fit
NEWS:Jason Ryan has admitted that he missed being involved at intercounty level and that his new role as coach/selector with Kildare is a perfect fit in that it will not place anything like the demands on his time that being manager of Wexford did.
After weeks of speculation, Ryan was confirmed as Kieran McGeeney’s final selector on Saturday. The 36-year-old met with Kildare chairman John McMahon, McGeeney and selector Damien Hendy ahead of the Lilywhites’ first collective training session of the year.
Niall Carew and John Rafferty both stepped down since the All-Ireland quarter-final annihilation by Cork, with Carew’s departure for Waterford coming as a surprise, given his significant role in the set-up and standing in the dressing room.
Hendy, who is a former player and very highly-rated coach domestically, was added to the ticket in October. Ryan’s appointment is a significant one though, as McGeeney looks to shake things up.
“I hadn’t anticipated being involved with a team this year but as time has gone by, I have missed being involved” said Ryan, still hobbling after surgery to cruciate knee ligament injury suffered last August.
Ryan paid tribute to his “understanding” wife, Suzanne but illustrated clearly how not being in the hot seat would give him much more time with his young family than had been possible in recent years.
“I’ve done it a bit backwards” he conceded. “I managed a team before I’d coached a team and I’m coaching a team after managing. It fits for me at the moment. I’m involved in training, in matches, I do my homework and that’s it.
“Whereas in the last five years . . . it just doesn’t stop. Whether I’m worried about the sports injuries side of things, I’m worried about the psychology side of things, the strength and conditioning, tactics. Is the bus going to be on time? Will that t-shirt fit them? Are those jerseys too small? That was the kind of stuff getting in the way.
“I don’t have to think about that now. I can look forward to just studying opposition, studying our tactics and figuring out the best way that maybe we can play and then make my suggestions and work with Kieran and Damien on that.
“Suzanne is very understanding . . . I wasn’t expecting something like this to come along that would actually fit. So was just getting things right at home and getting work-life balance correct. Now I can spend a lot more time with my family.”
The prospect of crossing swords with his former charges in the O’Byrne Cup is “not pleasant” but he doesn’t feel he owes Wexford anything, having given them “all that I could” for five years.