*Diarmuid Ryan. Photograph: Martin Connolly
Versatility can be a curse for some players, Diarmuid Ryan isn’t complaining with being one of the utility men in the Clare hurling panel.
His focus this week is split between Mary Immaculate College’s involvement in the Fitzgibbon Cup and Sunday’s National Hurling League opener at home to Carlow. The breakthrough player at senior level during Donal Moloney and Gerry O’Connor’s time in the helm is quick to acknowledge how respective managers Jamie Wall and Brian Lohan have done their best to keep players fresh.
Ryan told The Clare Echo, “The manager’s are excellent with us, there is no sense of burnout on my part, you’re feeling fresh going to training and the boys are so understandable, if you have a match they will let you nip away if you have a match and you might not have to do the running at the end of a session. That means a lot to us because when we go to a session we’re giving it everything because we might not be able to do the full session”.
For Mary I he was dominant at centre back while with the Clare seniors Diarmuid is being used in the half-forward line. So far as county is concerned, he hasn’t been given a clear indication as to which part of the field he’ll be located in. “The year before I was in the backs, last year I was in the forwards it just depends on what way lads are going, you might have one lad taking another position in the forwards, the best fifteen will get the jerseys and it’s up to the lads to come on and fill the position. As long as you’re getting game time you don’t care but the team winning is the main thing”.
Often this versatility can lead to a player missing out on the fifteen because they haven’t nailed down a particular spot but the Harty Cup winner with Ardscoil Rís is not complaining. “Sometimes you might have so many positions that they can’t pick one. To be honest I love playing whatever position I’m in whether it’s with Mary I or Clare, wherever they put me I will try do a job, if I can great and if I can’t I’m sure someone else will try and do the job for me”.
There is excitement around the Clare set-up Diarmuid says with players itching to get into competitive action. “It’s a tough slog from November to the end of January, when the League comes the matches are coming thick and fast so you can’t rest on your laurels, everyone loves that, when you have a two week break lads are annoyed because they want the match coming every week and I’m sure we’ll have a big test against Carlow as we will in the rest of the games”.