07 March 2013
Antrim hurling manager Kevin Ryan is looking forward to another committed performance from his team this Sunday against Dublin, and he hopes the Antrim fans will come out in large numbers to support the team.
I caught up with Kevin this afternoon and first of all asked him to reflect on the game against Limerick.
Did you expect to see the performance that the team delivered against Limerick?
Yes I did, we knew that the fellas had prepared well and they knew what we were asking of them. We perhaps didnít expect to get as far ahead of Limerick as we did in the first half, but we did ask the team to do their jobs collectively and individually and I knew that if they did, we would be competitive. That was the aim and that is still the aim, Antrim need to hurl competitively in every game we play.
You said before the league started that performance is as important as results. Is that still the case?
Absolutely, because if the performance is there, on a consistent basis, the results will follow. I want us to prepare for every game, whether we happen to playing Cavan or Donegal, Limerick or Kilkenny, in the same way. I think it is very important to Antrim hurling that we stay up in Division 1B, I think that is possible and that if we post a consistent level of performance I think we will achieve that.
We have a fair record against Dublin over the years. Is that something you are aware of?
No, not particularly and to be honest I am not very concerned about our track record against any team. In the same way I wasnít concerned about Antrimís poor record against Limerick in the past. If we had allowed that to dominate our thinking before the first game it would have had a negative impact and affected our performance. What we can control is how we play Ė so we donít get caught up analysing our opponents tactics or personnel. Antrim players can control how Antrim play, thatís what we are working on.
What is your view on the season so far?
I am delighted with the commitment from the players, and overall we are satisfied with the level of performance. The fellas are responding well to what we are trying to do. We had 3 games before the league so we are getting to know the players now, and we are entering the busy part of the league. Consistency is what I want the team to achieve more than anything. If we get that then the results will come.
Kevin Ryan hopes to see a big crowd to support the hurlers but he is urging patience among Antrim gaels.
I would hope that as many people as possible come to the game, and I hope that they donít come simply expecting a win. We have started a long term project with this Antrim team and fans will hopefully appreciate the work rate of the players and the increased level of performance. They deserve support and I know that Antrim hurling followers are intelligent followers of hurling. They know that improvement takes time. Hopefully Sunday will be another step in the right direction.