Antrim hurling Kevin Ryan vows to stay on after relegation

John Egan celebrates after hitting Kerry's winning point as Antrim's Odhran McFadden shows his dejection
John Egan hit Kerry's winning point to consign Antrim to Division 2A

Antrim manager Kevin Ryan has vowed to remain in charge of the county despite their devastating relegation to Division 2A of the Hurling League.

Kerry fought back from eight points down at half-time to earn a surprise 2-16 to 1-18 win in Saturday's Division 1B promotion-relegation play-off.

Ryan said that unfair criticism would only make him more determined to remain in charge.

"I'm absolutely 100% committed up until the end of next year," said Ryan.

"There is nothing further from my mind than walking away other than if I haven't 80-90% of the players's support and a reasonable support from the (county) board.

"If that wasn't there you have no business being with a group of players if they don't need you there.

"As I always said I welcome constructive criticism.

Paud Costello, Patrick Kelly and Michael O'Leary celebrate after Kerry's win over Antrim
Paud Costello, Patrick Kelly and Michael O'Leary helped Kerry stun Antrim at Parnell Park

"If someone from the outside sees something that is wrong I would sit and meet with anyone who would give me constructive criticism and I would welcome that.

"To me that's what real hurling people and a real Antrim hurling person would be doing."

The Saffrons went into their Division 1B campaign seemingly full of belief but lost their way alarmingly after an unlucky opening defeat in Wexford.

"I would be going back to the early stages of it, where we could have drove on and built from it, but we went the opposite way," added Ryan.

"There's definitely a realisation that some of the lads probably haven't got what we thought they have.

"We need to find a different mix, because they couldn't have been better prepared.

"There's nothing missing in the background, that the like of Kilkenny or be it anyone have.

"But we have to look and see why that's not coming through, whether it's personnel or it's us.

"Obviously we don't believe it's us as selectors but the players can decide that and the county board."

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