SHANE RYAN has quietly shuffled off the inter-county stage, without any great fanfare or fuss, but that shouldn’t detract from the towering contribution he has made to the Sky Blue cause for well over a decade.
The dual star started and finished his senior inter-county career as a Dublin hurler but, for most of the years in between, he was a consistently braveheart presence on Dublin football teams managed Tom Carr, Tommy Lyons and Paul Caffrey.
Ryan was good enough to become an All Star midfielder in 2008 – but that proved to be his last season as a Dublin regular and, after falling down the pecking order under Pat Gilroy, he returned to his hurling roots in late 2009.
While he struggled to firmly re-establish his starting claims under Anthony Daly, Ryan made plenty of cameos off the bench – including a point-scoring one against Tipperary in last year’s All-Ireland semi-final.
This year, though, a persistent back injury has convinced the 33-year-old to call time on the county in the hope of prolonging his club career with Naomh Mearnóg.
“I’ll always remember the big wins but unfortunately it’s hard to forget the big losses,” he admitted.
“But it’s been a privilege to play with Dublin, I’ve been delighted to devote my life to it.”
Ryan went on to explain: “It’s an extremely difficult decision, but I haven’t been making any inroads or an impact this year.
“It’s a problem that I’ve had for a number of years. This is the first year where it’s curtailed my training, which in turn is seriously curtailing my chances of getting on the togging-out panel.
“If I was to continue pushing it as hard as I have been, it might damage my chances of playing for my club in the future.
“I want to play with the club for another while. No inter-county player wants to admit they’re finished, but there comes a time and now it’s my turn.”
Anthony Daly paid tribute to the player, declaring: “Shane’s had such an illustrious career and was unfortunate not to win an All-Ireland medal.”
– Frank Roche – Evening Herald