ALL-Ireland winning senior hurling centre-back Conor Ryan is taking a year out of the game on medical advice.
Speaking to The Clare Champion, he said, “Unfortunately, this is not something that I want to do. It’s a decision forced upon me. Hurling and football is a huge part of my life and I have put playing above all else. To step away is extremely difficult.”
Joint Clare senior hurling team manager Gerry O’Connor confirmed, “We have asked him to join the analysis team and he probably will take up that offer. He is an integral part of our group. He has addressed the group and explained his position. He is a top-class guy. He is a loss to the team but, thankfully, he won’t be a loss to the group.
“The return of Davy Mac [McInerney] softens the blow a little but it will take at least two or three weeks to re-integrate himself into training and we will take direction from the strength and conditioning coach Kelvin Harold as to when he will return.”
Asked if his decision rules him out of club involvement also, Cratloe clubman Ryan said, “I would not be doing the club justice, as the club scene is as intense as anything now, the way it has gone. I tried everything under the sun to get back to full fitness and this step is probably one I should have taken last year. It’s a very difficult decision for me.”
The medical condition that has led to this decision by the Clare All-Ireland winning senior and U-21 defender “is just something that happened and the focus is all on getting the right treatment”.
“I am looking forward to being involved with the lads in some shape or form. Giving myself the best chance of getting back to 100% is something I have to do. The medics know what is required and I will be guided by them,” said Ryan.
The Cratloe man is the third member of the All-Ireland winning squad of 2013 who has been ruled out this year. Colin Ryan (Newmarket) did not rejoin the panel this year, while Darach Honan (Clonlara) has been ruled out due to an ongoing injury.
In addition, Pat O’Connor (Tubber), the newly appointed team captain, and Conor McGrath are recovering from surgery on shoulder injuries. “They are well ahead of schedule in terms of their rehab and they are being assessed on a weekly basis. It will be another three to four weeks before they are ready for full contact,” O’Connor said.
By sports editor Seamus Hayes