DUBLIN hurling newcomer Ryan Dwyer wants to celebrate his birthday in style this weekend – by helping Dublin beat Limerick in Sunday’s All-Ireland quarter final in Thurles. Dwyer turns 25 on Saturday and can think of nothing better than helping the Dubs into the last four of the Championship – especially after missing the Leinster final with Kilkenny through suspension.
By Cian Murphy
Originally from Cashel in Tipp and a minor, U21 and senior hurler for the Premier, he has been a phenomenal success as a ball winning half forward since he transferred his inter county allegiance to Dublin in 2011, where he works as a school teacher in St MacDara’s in Templeogue. But a straight red card in the semi-final win over Galway forced him to miss the Leinster final. “I was gutted to miss the Leinster final and felt I had let people down over being suspended. It didn’t really hit home until the lads were in the dressing room before the final and you were walking across the pitch to sit in the stand and not play and I said to myself ‘I’m never going to let this happen again’,” he says.
The Galway game was a nightmare for Dwyer. As well as being sent off, he also needed 30 stitches and emergency plastic surgery to sew his ear back on after taking two blows to the side of the head. “The first 15 minutes is a settling in period but I was gone off the field injured after four minutes and then had to go off again not long after and I felt I was chasing the game trying to make up for lost time,” he explains.
He was suspended for a petulant flick out at an opponent which was borne more out of frustration than malice, but he paid a high price and so, too, did Anthony Daly’s Dubs as Dwyer’s aerial strength and powerful running would have been vital against Kilkenny’s commanding half back line.
As it was, the Leinster final saw Dublin produce their poorest display of the year and Dwyer says Daly’s Dubs are eager to make up for it this weekend. “The Leinster final was very frustrating and we know we can’t afford to play as bad as that again. Kilkenny were very hungry and didn’t let us hurl, but I think also we were waiting for things to happen instead of going and making them happen,” he adds. On Sunday they meet a Limerick side who stopped Dublin from progressing at the same stage in 2009. “There has been a big change over in personnel on both teams since 2009 but we know Limerick are a threat and any team coached by Donal O’Grady will be well organised,”
Originally from Cashel in Tipperary, Dwyer’s mother hails from Pallasgreen in Limerick where there is a statue dedicated to his grandfather Paddy Ryan who emigrated from Pallasgreen and won a Gold Medal in the hammer throw for the USA at the 1920 Olympics and held numerous world records in the discipline. He admits to having felt nervous about hooking up with the Dubs this year, but says from his first team meeting with Daly’s men he was made feel welcome. “There is a lot of slagging and banter and you have to leave your feelings outside the dressing room door but the lads have been brilliant and have made me feel so welcome, it has been easy to settle in. “I’m a proud Tipp man but Dublin are my team and I would do anything for them,” he insists.
Thurles hasn’t always been a happy hunting ground for Dublin hurling – but it is a place Dwyer knows well having played Tipp minor, U21 and senior. A victory there on Sunday would mean a head to head with All-Ireland champs Tipp in a semi-final, but Dwyer isn’t looking beyond Limerick. “After everything that happened in Limerick hurling last year they really want to try and make up for it this year. The fact we are division one league champions and they won division two, I’ve no doubt they’ll be out to show what they are made of and Sunday and we know it will be very tough,” he warns.
Article Souce: Hill16.ie