Injury forces Ryall to retire from Cats after 'special' career
JAMES Ryall has become the latest of Kilkenny's four-in-a-row team to announce his retirement.
Derek Lyng became the first of the Noreside stars to announce his departure recently and Ryall is now following him after an equally decorated career, which included six All-Ireland medals, seven Leinster and four NHL titles.
The Graigue-Ballycallan half-back has revealed that he was diagnosed with chronic compartment syndrome in his legs four years ago, but refused to use that as an excuse for losing his starting place in recent seasons, when he was hampered with injury.
"The last few years I hadn't been making the team and I was finding it more and more difficult to get in," the 30-year-old said. "I'd had a few injuries but that was no excuse. When I told Brian (Cody) about my decision I had to be honest, not just for the team but for myself as well.
"At the end of it, Brian shook my hand and that was it, we left on the best terms possible.
"It's the right decision. I've had a lot of great years with Kilkenny and the memories will stay with me forever."
Ryall said that Kilkenny's 2006 All-Ireland final victory over Cork was the highlight of his career.
"It was the memory that stands out because we were underdogs. When you're not fancied it gives you the greatest satisfaction when you win it," he said.
He started at wing-back in that game; his last match for Kilkenny was off the bench in this year's All-Ireland semi-final against Cork, when he was the first substitute used, coming in for centre-back Brian Hogan.
"I had a great time with Kilkenny," Ryall said. "It was an honour to play for my county and to finish with six All-Ireland medals is something special."
Chronic compartment syndrome is the compression of nerves, blood vessels, and muscle, which leads to tissue damage due to the restriction of oxygen and is often signalled by repetitive 'pins and needles'.