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Thursday 18 October 2018

Ryan vow of silence adds to scrutiny...

MEDIA SILENCE: Tipperary manager Michael Ryan. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
MEDIA SILENCE: Tipperary manager Michael Ryan. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

A selection of headlines from yesterday's Irish Independent: "Silent Ryan in the line of fire"… "Ryan issues silent cry for help as Tipp gamble fails to pay off"… "Limerick's late flurry leaves Tipp speechless".

Spot a recurring theme?

Michael Ryan's decision to avoid all post-match interviews on Sunday has elicited as much scrutiny as the rudderless Munster SHC display against Limerick that preceded his vow of silence.

Here's the thing: is all the media attention on what the Tipp boss didn't say actually helping a team that has hit a crisis of confidence at the wrong time?

We don't think so.

Now, you might justifiably argue that a member of the media bemoaning a manager's refusal to play ball with said media can hardly claim objectivity.

But that's not our beef here. As an amateur, Ryan is perfectly entitled to talk for Ireland or morph into a Trappist monk.

That said, speaking to reporters directly after a game is an unwritten part of the gig. You wax lyrical in victory … or, more likely, issue a slew of government health warnings that it's "only February", or March, or May, or any month prior to September.

But you also front up in defeat - even if your mood is irascible and your answers monosyllabic, your own fans feel they are entitled to know why it all went pear-shaped.

Instead, after Sunday's 1-23 to 2-14 reversal, Tipp folk outside the inner sanctum are scratching their heads in befuddlement.

Why did Ryan shake up his selection to such an extent that four players made their SHC debuts, including a rookie midfield duo, while a fifth made his first summer start?

It reeked of an overcooked experiment, even panic perhaps in response to Tipp's league final travails against Kilkenny.

Now, none of us can claim knowledge of training-ground form and maybe the negligible impact of several marquee subs is reflective of what Ryan has been seeing with his own eyes.

But, by saying nothing, a manager previously known for his engaging nature might end up adding fuel to the conspiracy theory fires that frequently ignite after a chastening Tipp defeat.

Ahead of Sunday's potentially summer-defining clash with a resurgent Cork, perhaps the strangest thing about this affair is the explanation - that Ryan doesn't want to be interviewed during the round-robin series. We get that it's a new format … but each match is a separate entity. If you followed this logic, managers would only talk once in spring, at the end of the league.

Would Ryan have remained off-limits if Tipp had won? Will he break his silence if they beat Cork? Too many questions; not a single answer.

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