My Club and I: Gearoid Ryan
My Club and I: Gearoid Ryan
In this week's My Club and I, we speak to Tipperary hurler Gearóid Ryan about his club, Templederry Kenyons.
Templederry is a small, rural village in the heart of North Tipperary, 17km south-east of Nenagh.
Affiliated to the GAA since 1887, Templederry Kenyons play in the North Tipperary Senior Hurling Championship, but have lived in the shadow of neighbouring giants Borris-Ileigh and Toomevara.
Templederry won the the North Tipperary and Tipperary Intermediate Hurling Championships in 2008 (for the first time in their history), making a return to the senior ranks after a three-year absence.
The club is named after a Catholic priest and nationalist, Fr. John Kenyon, who was heavily involved in the Young Ireland movement in the area in the 1800s. The clubs grounds, Fr. Kenyon Park, are also named after him.
Along with Thomas Stapleton, Ryan is one of two Templederry Kenyons clubmen in the Tipperary panel for Saturday''s All-Ireland SHC final against Kilkenny.
Q: Tell us a little about how you first got involved with the club...
A: I just went down to the hurling field training when I was a young lad and it took off from there. It's something every young lad up there does at some stage, but I just stayed at it. I was five or six when I first went down, but I didn't really play any structured hurling until the U12 and U14 grades. Before that it's blitzes at U10 level against neighbouring clubs on a Saturday morning to get things going.
Q: Is there any football played in the club?
A: There is a bit of football played underage, but there is no senior football played in the club so it is mostly hurling.
Q: Do you have any other family members involved?
A: I am the oldest in the family and was the first to play there. I have a brother and a sister who are involved now and my father would have hurled with the club before me.
Q: Have many other Templederry men have gone on to represent Tipperary?
A: Thomas Stapleton is currently in the panel. We have had a good few lads on various county teams over the last few years - Adrian Ryan, Christy Coughlan and Brian Stapleton captained the Tipp minors a few years back. There have been a good few lads of late who have been getting into Tipperary teams, which is always a good sign that there is some talent coming through the ranks.
Q: Who did you look up to at the club when you were younger?
A: When I was younger I always looked up to Timmy Minogue, who is actually not all that much older than me. Timmy is still hurling away and has been for years. He's a great player, a great clubman. When I was playing underage in the club I always looked up to him and admired him.
Q: What are the facilities like at the club?
A: We have very good facilities. The grounds got a makeover a few years back - new dressing rooms, a hall, racquetball alley, a scoreboard and they are recently after building a stand and a wall around the field. We have two fields up there now as well so the place is in good order and really coming on nicely.
Q: Did you win much at underage level with the club?
A: We were playing in the 'B' grade at U14 and U16 level and we won a few Tipperary North titles and county titles growing up. We won the U21 'B' county title in 2005 and then an U21 'A' Tipperary North title the year after. That was a big day for the club because it was one of the first 'A' titles we had ever won and it was great to be part of that. It was mostly 'B' hurling we played because numbers were always a factor up there.
Q: Do you remember the first time you played a senior game for Templederry?
A: I remember making my championship debut against Toomevara as a 16-year-old. It was my first outing back in 2005. The memories of that game are not great because Toomevara are a great, tough team and to play against them on your debut might not be ideal.
Q: You were relegated to the Intermediate ranks in 2005 but regained senior status in 2008. How important was that for the club?
A: It was massive. It was very important for the progression of the club. We played Newport in the Intermediate Championship final that year and Conor O'Mahony was playing for them. We tried to get back up for two years after being relegated and it didn't really happen for us. It was great to finally get back up and we have been a senior club since then.
Q: How have things worked out since you returned to the senior grade?
A: We have performed well, but we haven't really made a breakthrough. We got to a Tipp North semi-final - the last 16 in the county - but that's as far as we have got. We are trying to progress every year.
Kilkenny v Tipperary, All-Ireland Senior Hurling Final Replay, Croke Park, Saturday, 5pm