How former Dublin keeper's battle with depression has led to him cycling around Ireland for charity
Former Dublin minor hurling goalkeeper Cormac Ryan will commence his second 'Cycle for Life' around Ireland this morning to raise funds for various charities including the Cormac McAnallen Trust and Aware.
Ryan was Dublin's 'keeper in the 2011 All-Ireland minor hurling final defeat to Galway but the following year was diagnosed with a serious heart condition which required a pacemaker.
The advice given to him at the time was to give up his Gaelic games career.
"Had I lost my life it would have fallen under the category of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome," he recounted.
After the diagnosis, Cormac, now 22, suffered badly with depression.
But he battled back to make it on to the U-21 squad in 2013 and 2014.
"After my diagnosis I suffered badly with depression and anxiety for the best part of three years and struggled to mix what was going on in my head with being part of an inter-county team," he said.
"Since last year I have been an advocate of speaking out about mental health problems as I have experienced first hand the difference it can make. So I included Aware as one of the charities in the 'Cycle For Life' initiative for 2015."
He will undertake the 1,100-km trip around Ireland with five others and their first stop tonight will be Eglish, home to Cormac McAnallen, the Tyrone captain who died from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome in 2004.
At the end of their two-week journey, which will take in all 32 counties, they hope to have raised €50,000 in total over the two years.
They will take in a route that will include stopovers in Eglish, Cookstown, Sligo, Ennis, Killarney, Cork, Waterford and Carlow before finishing back in Dublin.