Monday 24 October 2016

Ryan's dedication makes him the unsung hero of Newport club

Published 13/11/2015 | 02:30

Declan Ryan
Declan Ryan

Declan Ryan of Newport RFC is the winner of the Munster Volunteer Recognition Award for November.

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Declan first acquainted himself with Newport Rugby Club as a youngster when he accompanied his friends to the grounds that were then shared by the local soccer club. His friends would make their way to the soccer pitch but Declan was finding himself naturally drawn to rugby where he played at underage level.

Since then Declan has been chairperson of Newport Rugby Club from 2009 to 2013 and in his current role as assistant chairperson and U-12s coach, he oversees the development of many of the club's youth players including his son Aiden who he first introduced to rugby as a four-year-old.

Declan has been the cornerstone of the Newport juvenile section over the last ten years and has been delighted to witness how the introduction of new blood to the Newport RFC volunteer ranks has instilled additional energy and focus to the club.

Quietly and diligently, Decland has been the mortar that has held Newport together over such a long period and is currently working towards the objective of purchasing the grounds that the club have been leasing since their establishment in 1971.

Having the loyalty of players, parents and committee alike, Declan is the quiet man whose reliability and steadfastness has inspired others to get involved and help raise the club profile. Over the past five years the juvenile club has seen significant progression, with record growth in numbers for 2015. This is down to Declan's vision for an underage and schoolboy structure that has eclipsed many people's expectations in Newport. Along with other parents Declan has brought the Juvenile Club from Kinsale to Wales with many stops in between. There is no such thing as a loss with Declan, only something else to be learned and passed on.

Dec, Deccy, George, "The Grey haired One" - Declan responds to all calls and all requests with a smile and good humour. Declan can be found with sleeves rolled up, water bottle in hand and back bent as he is intent on not missing a fraction of the action. Encouragement is the only tool Declan uses in directing his charges as he marches up and down the sideline.

A typical Sunday for Declan starts with rugby and ends with rugby, and a child under his charge is not seen without a smile. Any honours the club has achieved are certain to have involved Declan.

No role is too big or small - kit man, physio, water boy, head coach, doctor, electrician - Declan has fulfilled all roles with honour and nothing is left to chance on his watch! Munster Rugby is proud to acknowledge Declan Ryan as an outstanding servant to rugby in the province.

Irish Independent

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