Saturday 24 March 2018

Family background fuels Swan's aim to build on Euro goals

Ryan Swan
Ryan Swan
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Ryan Swan has enjoyed the family bragging rights since his dream European goalscoring run in July, but says the support of his father has played a huge part in his success.

Swan, the son of ex-Bohemians legend Derek, turned heads by scoring three times in UCD's improbable Europa League run.

The 19-year-old was yesterday named the SSE Airtricity/SWAI Player of the Month for July as a result of his exploits.

His dad only scored a pair of European goals in his long career, so the offspring has managed to rib him about that. But he is also conscious that the football driven environment at home is a huge advantage as he starts his journey.

"There was a bit of laughing in the house alright," smiles the teenager. "I'm 19 and I've beat his record. In his full career, he only got two!

"I've seen a lot of videos of him playing, even if I'm a bit young to remember. He shies away from that now - he always wants me to have the limelight. Everything was just football growing up. For as long as I can remember, I always had the ball at my feet."

Certainly, there's talent running through the genes. His grandfather, Tony, lined out for Bohs in the 1960s and his grand uncle Maurice was capped by Ireland in a goalkeeping career which included spells with Hull and Cardiff.

Ryan scored in both legs against Luxembourg outfit Dudelange as the First Division side - who earned the ticket to participate via the Fair Play route - proved the sceptics wrong by progressing to bring their Euro earnings to €410,000.

Slovan Bratislava proved too strong in the next round, yet Swan still managed to net in Dublin.

"It's not often you get to see a packed house here," he said, gesturing towards the Belfield Bowl. "We don't get to play in front of big crowds in the First Division and the style of play suited us too."

The priority now is promotion, with the students four points off leaders Wexford Youths with a game in hand. Longer term, he naturally has ambitions of moving across the water, but he is a grounded lad. After all, he was starved of game-time with the Bray U-19 side when UCD boss Collie O'Neill got a tip off and spotted his potential.

"We watched him in a few games and could see the threat that he had and I said 'we need him'," reflected a proud O'Neill.

"I saw his work-rate, the hunger and desire to go and be the best, and he still has it. There are plenty of players who would have scored three goals in Europe and then walked around smelling themselves thinking that's it, they have made it but he doesn't.

"He came back and improved, he's actually a better player now than he was, so fair play to him."

Meanwhile, the FAI have confirmed the re-arrangement of two important Premier Division fixtures that were postponed due to European commitments.

Cork City will host St Patrick's Athletic at Turner's Cross on Monday, August 31 while the other top-four meeting between leaders Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers is pencilled in for live TV coverage on Tuesday, September 1.

Irish Independent

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