The man who once wrote about two roads diverging in a wood would appreciate that two roads have also diverged in Nenagh for many a year.
Market Cross is a space not only for conducting the business of present life but also contemplating in what direction the business of life might take you in the future.
Donnacha Ryan would not have been the first man, woman or child to ponder such weighty matters; perhaps a pint of plain in Rocky’s Bar might have aided his counsel.
It is early February 2012; Ryan is back home but wondering whether should he move house; to turn left and stay with Munster or, heaven forfend, turn right and head up the road to Leinster?
The pint, tentatively supped at first, is swiftly slurped to a finish. He has swallowed his final decision. Even though he is struggling to get into an Irish team ahead of the player he is keeping out of the Munster team, he will stay on the south road.
And when the time comes for him to go, there’ll be no need to return to this fork in the road.
Irish rugby is full of ‘sliding doors’ moments; that Ryan was, momentarily at least, pinpointed as a potential Leinster signing a decade ago is hardly highest on the serendipity charts. Still, it was an intriguing yarn nonetheless.
Especially when one thinks that Ryan was ostensibly being sourced as a replacement for a certain Leo Cullen.
Cullen would recover and assume his record-breaking role as a European trophy-winning captain, aided by a lock Leinster acquired from further south than Nenagh, Brad Thorn.
Cullen will be there again this week sitting in one coaching box as Leinster chase a fifth star; across from him in the Marseille Vélodrome will be Ryan, now assisting O’Gara as La Rochelle course their maiden European crown.
Except you won’t hear much from him this week, unlike his media-friendly boss.
But, whether in his playing or coaching career, a disdain for the spectacular could never be confused with anything less than total commitment to the task.
Fellow Tipp man Alan Quinlan tells a story of a meet and greet in Clanwilliam RFC in another century; a gangly kid firing questions about breakdowns and lineout calling.
Ryan had originally wanted to hurl for Tipp until he watched Quinlan’s side beat Saracens in a famous European tie as a 17-year-old.
O’Gara’s late penalty in Thomond. Teenage kicks, you could say.
All these years later it comes as little surprise, perhaps, that Ryan answered the Cork man’s call to pitch up on the Atlantic coast.
They would win a European title together, O’Gara’s second, in 2008 when Ryan was an unused replacement.
Now they are aiming for a maiden title as coaches; the boys who once wore Munster red seeking to deny Leinster blue. Different characters sharing the same goal.
O’Gara was always sprinkled with stardust; he strode Munster’s 21st century odyssey as a dominant figure.
So many dominant figures towered over Ryan even though he was 6’ 7”; from O’Callaghan to O’Connell to O’Driscoll.
He was 27 when he first played in Europe; it took him a while to become an overnight success, eight years to assemble 100 caps.
And then it seemed to end so prematurely, the loyalty he had shown hardly reciprocated; at 33, discarded by Ireland and Munster, he was given no choice. He had to leave.
Munster’s toils since his departure in 2017 reveal the folly of the decision; his role as a quasi-forwards coach in a Racing 92 semi-final win a season later confirmed it.
He spent nearly an hour in the dressing-room of his former comrades but then he moved on. Quietly, but remorselessly.
There was a time in his early 30s when he could barely walk, when almost 18 months of his career was lost to a severe foot injury.
The next step is the most important one. There’s always another road.