Dan Ryan to continue as Northern Ireland head coach
Last Updated: 01/08/19 3:30pm
Dan Ryan will remain as Northern Ireland's head coach and has his sights fixed on building towards the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Unlike many national coaches, Ryan did not have years to develop his squad in anticipation of the recent Netball World Cup tournament in Liverpool. Instead, he had just months after stepping into the role at the end of 2018.
After joining Northern Ireland, the head coach had to build through a camp format consisting of two or three days with his players every two weeks, and would sometimes fly in and out for a day's training.
Ryan was combining his Northern Ireland commitments with his role as assistant coach at Manchester Thunder. He will not be part of Thunder's management for the forthcoming season but remains at the heart of Northern Ireland's development.
"I've really enjoyed my short amount of time with the national team, so I'm really pleased to continue on the journey with them," said Ryan, upon the announcement that he will remain with the national side.
"I've seen some great progress in a number of different areas since starting together in December and I'm hopeful that with more time together, more funding and resources, plus more competitive match opportunities, we will be better placed to move forward.
"Being part of the World Cup was an unbelievable experience for all of us. Just having the opportunity to compete against the best in the world on the sport's biggest stage was something we all embraced and gained so much from."
10th for @netballni at the @NetballWorldCup after going down to Trinidad in our final match. So grateful to be here & so proud of my team for the way they represented. The week threw down so many challenges but we showed up, stood up & faced them all! Always learning & growing 🙌— Dan Ryan (@DanRyan84) July 20, 2019
The tournament in Liverpool was the first time that Ryan had experienced coaching at a World Cup and it was the first time that he had led that group of players in such an environment.
Overall, the Warriors' campaign had its ups and its downs. A huge knock to captain Caroline O'Hanlon against the Australian Diamonds on the opening day rocked them, although she was able to return to court and lead their charge superbly.
Then, a heart-breaking loss to the Zimbabwe Gems thwarted their chances of striving for their original top-eight goal.
Despite having to re-evaluate their ambitions, Ryan's team showed tenacity and heart throughout with individuals stepping up, including young Emma Magee.
"There were times we produced some brilliant netball and competed bravely against some tough opposition," noted the head coach.
We recognised fairly quickly in his initial appointment that we had the same vision and aspirations for our squad as well as our pathway athletes. This extension was a natural progression for us and we are looking forward to seeing the growth Dan and the squad can achieve following a promising performance in Liverpool.
Karen Rollo, executive manager at Netball NI
Ryan, who was also part of Sky Sports' team throughout the tournament, believes that greater exposure to pressure matches is necessary when it comes to future pre-tournament camps.
"We just need more match practice under pressure, I think that it's so hard to come to a World Cup and you learn how to play under pressure in these situations," added the head coach.
What a @NetballWorldCup it was! Such an honour to be involved & so grateful for the opportunities. Lived out a childhood dream, calling the final with this legend @waihue! Thank you @SkyNetball. Congratulations to the @SilverFernsNZ, what a champion performance, what a comeback! pic.twitter.com/ubUhKZUgMZ— Dan Ryan (@DanRyan84) July 23, 2019
"But we're just not match-hardened enough to experience that as a group.
"That's a real learning experience for next time, to have a preparation where we are really tested in the lead up because that's where you find out about yourselves and each other and that's what matters."
The Warriors' next outing on court under their head coach's leadership will be the European Championships in Antrim, which will be taking place from September 27-29.