Friday 24 November 2017

Former dual star Ryan to lead Faithful

Sean Ryan: captain's role. Photo: SPORTSFILE
Sean Ryan: captain's role. Photo: SPORTSFILE

Michael Verney

Kevin Ryan has handed the Offaly captaincy to one of his most experienced soldiers with Birr midfielder Sean Ryan set to lead the Faithful hurlers for 2017.

Ryan, 30, is one of the elder statesmen of a youthful senior set-up going through a difficult transition, along with Shane Dooley, Joe Bergin and James Dempsey, and he'll be hoping he can help lift the Faithful's fortunes after slipping off the hurling radar in recent seasons.

The former dual star, who togged out for both the footballers and hurlers in championship games on the same day in 2008, began his 12-year inter-county career with the big ball before focusing his sole attention on hurling in recent years and had his most consistent season with Offaly last year.

Kevin Ryan's first season at the helm has gotten off to a difficult start with seasoned players like last year's captain Colin Egan and Kilcormac/Killoughey's Conor Mahon opting out for the year while the search for selectors was an exhausting one.

Double Offaly All-Ireland winner Johnny Dooley and four-time All-Ireland club medallist Gary Cahill stepped into the breach, however, and Ryan will be planning on things picking up quickly despite a daunting opening Allianz Division 1B tie at home to Galway on Sunday.

Star forward Bergin is also touch and go for the visit of the Tribesmen after undergoing minor surgery before Christmas.

Irish Independent

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