Westmeath's shock win over Kilkenny came as no surprise to the backroom team

Selector and senior manager Michael Ryan spoke to Newstalk Sport

BY Daniel Kelly 13:36 Thursday 26 May 2016, 13:36 26 May 2016

Westmeath's Michael Ryan Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Lorraine OÕSullivan

Westmeath's two-point win over Kilkenny in the Leinster Under-21 Hurling Championship came as no surprise to Michael Ryan.

The Westmeath senior manager is a selector with the Under-21 team, and when speaking to Newstalk Sport's Oisin Langan he revealed that the backroom staff always felt there was a good performance in the team.

"In fairness to the guys, they turned in a fantastic performance last night. They took the game to Kilkenny from the very start and hurled really well over the pitch... Our resources are small, but they have very big hearts. I'm really delighted for them. They deserved to win, no doubt about that."

Adrian Moran's side have been training against senior opposition all year, which Ryan has felt has been very beneficial. "They are training with the senior team. We will always have 15-a-side games in training. They are very competitive. Sometimes a crop of players come along together... They're really proud of playing for Westmeath. They like representing the county."

There are only 13 hurling clubs in the county. Ten of those had players in Westmeath's 24-man squad against Kilkenny. Ryan thinks the the win could be the start of something special for the area. "For a county like Westmeath, there will always be steps going forward... It could be the start of something big and hopefully it will help promote the games in schools. Those guys are good ambassadors."

Ryan added by saying there is "no room for complacency" in the team. They meet either Dublin of Wexford in the Leinster semi-finals next month.


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