Summerhill captain has lots of experience

Friday, 12th October, 2018 7:00am

Summerhill captain has lots of experience

30-09-18. Summerhill v Donaghmore/Ashbourne - Meath SFC Semi-Final at Pairc Tailteann. Willie Ryan, Summerhill Captain. Photo: John Quirke / www.quirke.ie ©John Quirke Photography, Unit 17, Blackcastle Shopping Cte. Navan. Co. Meath. 046-9079044 / 087-2579454.

Summerhill captain Willie Ryan has been there, done that and worn the t-shirt as he told FERGAL LYNCH ahead of Sunday's SFC final.

Two Keegan Cups, three u-21 FCs and a couple of league titles at A FL and B FL, he also had a spell on the county panel which many believed was cut prematurely short.

An accomplished defender, undoubtedly one of the finest in the county, Ryan is still in awe of the work that goes on in his club and he is not surprised that they are back in another Keegan Cup final.

“It is down to the hard work of a lot of lads behind the scenes. Even just walking into training you can see players I would have played with just three or four years ago are already down here with the kids passing on their knowledge and experience,” said Ryan.

“Lads like Christy Ryan, Joe Larkin and others have put in great work so the success we are having now is all down to the likes of those men and the hard work they have put in, helping bring lads through.

“We are now playing with lads we have played with our whole life, since u-12 and u-14. The trick is to try to blend in the few extra young players that come through every year.

“We had a good crop from a great minor team a couple of years ago and five or six of them have pushed their way onto the senior panel and every year we are getting two or three new lads, so it is just about blend them in and keeping it rolling over.”

Ultimate glory in 2011 and 2013 hasn't dulled Ryan's appetite for more and, if anything, the manner of the loss to Simonstown in last year's final acts as a motivator to complete his hat-trick of SFC medals.

“Last year's final was very disappointing. We try not to mention it too much, but it is driving everyone on. It wasn't a good way to finish the year. It was great to get to a final, but to put in a performance like we did wasn't what we wanted and didn't give a fair reflection of the hard work we had put in all year.

“Everyone is really driving on this year, hoping to put that right. Worst case scenario we have to produce a better performance than we did last year, so that is really driving us on.

“We are confident that if we put in a shift like we know we can then we can put it up to any team, so it is just about on the day and making sure nothing stops us from putting in that shift. We have to make sure everyone puts their shoulder to the wheel and does the job we have been told we need to do.

“Ultimately things can either go for you or against you, after that it is up to luck, but hopefully if we can put in a performance we can come out on the right side of the result.”

It is that consistency that has been a problem for Summerhill all year. Problem? What problem? They have averaged 24 points per game this year and at times left teams spinning with their mesmerising football, but it's the 'at times' aspect of that analysis that bothers Ryan.

“In all our championship games this year we have only shown in glimpses what we are capable of, but trying to put that together for a long period of time is the aim,” he said.

“We know that if we can put it together for an hour then we can do it when we are all clicking.

“If something goes wrong or something goes against us it can all fall to pieces fairly quickly, so we will have to try to make sure we are as prepared as we can be to make sure that doesn't happen.

“I know we have knocked up some big scores, but we are also conceding a lot of chances at the other end, so it is all about trying to get the balance right.

“We know if we get the ball up to the lads in attack they will do the job, but it is about the rest of the team working consistently for 60 minutes to make sure we are not coughing up too many chances, we need to tighten up a bit.”

So just what type of challenge will Dunboyne bring next Sunday and what lessons will Summerhill have learned from their previous experiences to make sure they don't suffer a repeat of what happened in last year's final?

“Dunboyne have great pace and an outstanding attack. Physically when you look through their team they look in top conditions,” warned Ryan.

“It is going to be hard work for 11 of us, we will have to work our socks off and hope to get enough ball to the four lads up front.

“We do have very similar styles, we are both very effective going forward, so it could come down to whoever can tighten up at the back will go a long way towards winning the game.

“Obviously last year's final will be in the minds a little bit. If lads can think of little things that didn't go right for them last year and try to rectify that, then that might help. 

“We have to make sure that everyone is in a good frame of mind that they can go out and give their best performance and the team's best performance,” concluded the Summerhill captain.

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