Monday January 11 2010
SHANE RYAN has admitted he faces a massive challenge getting back up to speed as an inter-county hurler – and he doesn’t want any preferential treatment from Dublin boss, Anthony Daly.
“Once the games start, the more games I get the better,”the now-retired Dublin footballer revealed. “I don’t want people to think I’m swanning in and taking someone’s place who’s been working hard at this game for the last number of years. With all due respect to everyone else that’s there, I want to earn my spot – if I get it.
“Hopefully I get a bit of game-time, but behind the scenes there’s going to be an awful lot of hard work to do as well,” he added. “The challenge at this stage is to even try and get up to speed with every other player, and that’s still a bit away, I think.”
Having spent the past decade as a Dublin senior footballer, Ryan has reverted to his “first love”, hurling, at least partly because his playing opportunities were so curtailed last season. Yet he insisted his parting was very amicable and he had a “good relationship” with football manager Pat Gilroy. “It would be silly to say that it (not playing) wasn’t a factor but, in saying that, it’s something that I’ve spoken about over the last two or three years,” the 2008 All Star midfielder outlined. “I knew I was running out of time. I finally came to the stage where I said to myself that I had to make a decision – I had to do it. There was a lot of agonising over it since the end of last season. The overriding factor for this decision was that I always planned to go back hurling at some stage. I’m 31 now so, if I didn’t do it, I’m never going to do it and I’ll regret it in ten years’ time.”
Ryan conceded that the dual option was a non-runner, saying: “If I could, I’d play both at the absolute peak level I could … I just don’t think it’s possible, for me, at my age.”
The Naomh Mearnóg clubman made his playing comeback for the Sky Blue hurlers in the annual Evening Herald/Dublin Bus Dubs Stars challenge eight days ago. He has already noted how Daly’s young squad aren’t “lacking in confidence” but warned: “Dublin aren’t going to be the unknown quantity that they might have been last year, so it’s going to be that bit harder for them.