Ryan not ruling out leaving Leinster in the future
For a 25-year-old, Dominic Ryan has plenty of miles on the clock but since winning his first and only international cap 16 months ago, his path into the Leinster side has been hampered by a host of back-row options.
Ryan made his 100th appearance for Leinster at the start of the month and although he still has one-year left to run on his contract, he has in the past been linked with a move to Munster.
The former Gonzaga student admitted that he wouldn't rule out a move away from his home province in the future but for now at least, he is prepared to fight for his place.
Josh van der Flier's remarkable strides this season have been well documented, while Dan Leavy is another young openside flanker with a big reputation who is expected to follow a similar route in the future.
"It's a luxury for Leinster that they have so many quality back-rows but it's a pain for players," Ryan maintained.
"You've grown up in Leinster and your whole life you've dreamed of playing for Leinster. It (moving) might be an option in the future but I'm contracted for next year so I just have that in mind and whatever happens after that we'll see.
"It's important to get a run of games. It's tough to try and get into a rhythm when you're playing 20 minutes off the bench. Then you start a game and you might not play the next weekend, then you might be benching the weekend after that.
"Regular game-time is important for me mentally as well as physically. I've had a good run now that the lads are away at the Six Nations, so hopefully I'll keep it up."
While he has been impressed by Van der Flier's rapid rise to the top, Ryan isn't taking any inspiration from it.
"I wouldn't say it's inspiring, no," he insisted before backtracking slightly. "'It's not inspiring,' is maybe a little bit harsh. I'm not being harsh. It might be inspiring if I was younger than him to look at him and see what can be done at such a young age.
"I was that younger player coming through once and they'd be getting older players out of the team. Look, it's rugby, it's ruthless enough and that's the way the cookie crumbles."