Declan Ryan pleased with good workout ahead of National League

Sunday's Waterford Crystal Cup game against Waterford I.T. was an ideal game to have a look at some players, Tipp manager Declan Ryan stated after he had taken charge of the team for the first time.

Sunday's Waterford Crystal Cup game against Waterford I.T. was an ideal game to have a look at some players, Tipp manager Declan Ryan stated after he had taken charge of the team for the first time.

He said that he and coach Tommy Dune and selector Michael Gleeson would be picking a panel to play in the League soon, and "that's what today was as much about as anything else."

Tipp play Kilkenny in their opening match at Semple Stadium three weeks from next Saturday (February 12th), and considering that the panel only returned last week from their holiday in Jamaica he was glad of the workout.

Waterford I.T. won Sunday's game with a late point, and the Tipp manager said the college team probably had a good bit of work done, with the Fitzgibbon Cup starting next week.

"Our guys are in the middle of a heavy training schedule at the minute, so some of the legs looked heavy finishing up".

They're all anxious to get back to some hard work and they're looking forward to the challenges ahead, and the game against Kilkenny is the focus for the moment."

Declan said he was delighted to see James Woodlock back after a long lay-off, "that was certainly very pleasing." He added, "Timmy Hammersley played very well of course – I'll have to give out to him about that! – and Buggy O'Meara used the ball very well."

James Woodlock appeared as a half-time substitute for his first game for Tipp since the 2009 All-Ireland Final and confessed that he didn't think he would return so soon.

He initially turned down Declan Ryan's offer to play on Sunday but changed his mind when he felt good at the end of a training session.

James said he felt fine after the match, there was a small bit of pain but it wasn't too bad, and it would go in time hopefully. He still has a bar in his leg but it was coming good all the time and he would drive on from here.

He said all the hard work was worthwhile when he made it back. "Fellows didn't fancy coming out today playing in the muck but I didn't mind, I looked forward to coming on at some stage."

When he broke the leg in the 2009 County Final against Thurles Sarsfields he was in bed for the first six weeks. When he got out of bed, trainer Cian O'Neill and physio John Casey gave him rehabilitation programmes, and he worked hard and thought he would get back last year but he just couldn't, "it took ages."

The break was so bad that it took its own time and there were times when he felt it would never come right, but it recovered bit by bit.

"I wasn't going to stop, I was only a few years at it", he said.

Despite scoring 1-10 against Tipp, Waterford I.T.'s Timmy Hammersley said it would be extremely hard to get on the county panel this year, especially when you saw players like John O'Neill, John O'Dwyer and Sean Carey playing on Sunday.

He predicted there would be "a big fight for places, there were 34 or 35 on the panel at present so there would be no easy slots handed out."