*Dean Ryan kicking a point for Clare. Photograph: Martin Connolly
ÉIRE ÓG’s bid to win three Clare SFC titles in a row has been strengthened by the return of Dean Ryan to the club.
A former Clare footballer, Dean had been lining out with Na Fianna since 2019 but makes a welcome return to the Éire Óg fold.
On his return to the Ennis club, he kicked 1-02 from centre-back as Paul Madden’s charges kicked off their season with 1-12 1-04 win over Cratloe in the Garry Cup. The county champions were relegated from the Cusack Cup last year.
Ryan’s return gives more options to Madden and his management team. Their defence already includes three starting members from the county football side, namely Manus Doherty, Ronan Lanigan and Ciaran Russell.
Fellow back men Aaron Fitzgerald and Conall Ó hÁiniféin who is recovering from injury have previously seen action for the county in senior championship while Éinne O’Connor has formerly been part of county minor and U21 setups.
Dean first joined the Clare senior football in 2014, the first season that Colm Collins was manager for. He was a regular starter during Clare’s memorable run in 2016 which saw them defeat Laois, Sligo and Roscommon to set up an All-Ireland quarter-final with Kerry in Croke Park.
He remained at corner back in 2019 when Clare just missed out on the final spot in the Super 8s after losing by the smallest of margins to Meath, their July 2019 duel finishing 2-16 1-18.
Ryan left the county panel before the conclusion of the National Football League in 2021 when game time was becoming more scarce.
With Éire Óg, he was part of the 2014 side which contested the county final against Cratloe, losing out on a scoreline of 2-12 1-11, the result saw Cratloe claim a first senior championship double in the county in 85 years.
Midfield was his spot when the Éire Óg hurlers defied the odds to defeat Sixmilebridge 0-15 1-11 in the U21A hurling final of 2010. He scored 0-01 on the day for the Townies captained by Kevin Moynihan with David O’Halloran giving a man of the match display at corner forward.
Off the field, Dean and his wife Eimear welcomed the birth of their Caolán at the end of January. The couple have since relocated to Co Clare.