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Former boss Casey praises Ryan's arrival at Tyrone

By John Campbell

Former Antrim boss Kevin Ryan has renewed his acquaintance with Ulster hurling after being appointed interim manager of Tyrone.

Ryan, who has also been involved with UUJ and had been named boss of the Ulster side for the inter-provincial series that had been arranged for December but did not take place, takes over after Dominic Kearns' sudden departure.

Ryan severed his ties with Antrim towards the end of last year with PJ O'Mullan subsequently stepping into the breach.

Waterford native Ryan, who has also managed Carlow, will bring a wealth of experience.

Last year the side won Division 3A of the Allianz League but were denied the chance to take the step up to Division Two when they lost a promotion/relegation shoot-out against Donegal, who finished bottom of Division 2B.

Ryan's appointment has already been hailed as a significant boost by Damien Casey, who skippered Tyrone last year and was their leading marksman in both league and championship.

"Kevin is a very capable mentor who has worked with Antrim, UUJ and Ulster and although I have limited experience under him with the latter two, he made a good impression," said Casey.

"We were disappointed not to reach Division Two last year but hopefully we can achieve that this year. I believe his appointment will bolster interest and enthusiasm within the squad."

Ryan's arrival should draw a veil over the recent controversy that raged in Tyrone following the appointment of Kearns to succeed Mattie Lennon.

Kearns lasted just a month after it emerged that a number of Dungannon Eoghan Ruadh players would refuse to line out for the county team this year after a row with the County Board over what they perceived to be the poor treatment of their club and the county panel in 2015.

Since then Kearns has claimed that there were "other issues" which led to his sudden exit.

Ryan's first major assignment will be Tyrone's opening Allianz League game against Monaghan at Castleblayney on February 14.

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