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Kevin Ryan quits Saffron hurlers to allow period for change

By John Campbell

Antrim will today begin the search for a new hurling boss following the resignation of Kevin Ryan.

The Waterford native has confirmed that he will be formally stepping down following the team's All-Ireland Under-21 semi-final against Wexford at Semple Stadium, Thurles on August 22.

Antrim's fortunes dipped alarmingly this year when they were relegated in the league and failed to make any impact in the Leinster Championship before just managing to retain their Ulster crown when they beat Down by a point in a dramatic climax.

And Ryan makes no bones about what he feels is necessary if Antrim's fortunes are to be restored.

"I believe there is a vast amount of change needed to revitalise and improve Antrim hurling and it needs a clear pathway for the next three years or more," stated Ryan.

"Starting that process in my last year may not suit my successor. It would leave players facing further uncertainty and maybe more change in 12 months' time. In the interests of all concerned, the time is right for me to resign.

"I hope by announcing my intention now this will allow Antrim to find a suitable successor with ample time to prepare for 2016."

During his tenure, Ryan took the bold gamble of plunging a number of talented young players into his squad and was prepared to exercise patience as they found their feet at inter-county level.

Players such as the Johnston brothers, Conor and Ciaran, Daniel McKernan, Shane McNaughton and Conor Carson have come to the fore but results have been depressing overall.

"I would like to thank the Antrim board, all those who have helped and supported me in the backroom team and some seriously dedicated supporters for their commitment," added Ryan.

Belfast Telegraph

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