HE MAY live in Limerick but come 2pm tomorrow, Br Liam Ryan will be hoping the Model County’s prayers are answered – his nephew is star corner-back for Wexford, his namesake, Liam Ryan.
Br Ryan who played hurling with Doon and football with Oola in the past, missed last weekend’s win over Waterford due to a trip to Knock but will be proudly donning the purple and gold in Semple Stadium for the All-Ireland quarter-final.
“I would be fierce interested altogether. I missed last week because I was up in Knock but I was at the Clare games. Liam is a lovely lad. He is one of these fellas who would have been hurling since he was knee-high to a grasshopper,” explained Br Ryan, who resides at the Christian Brothers’ residence, St Teresa’s, on North Circular Road in the city.
Liam, the hurler, is a son of Br Ryan’s brother Fiachra and his wife Rose [nee Byrne].
“Rose was a tremendous hurler and camogie player. Rose hurled for the boys and played camogie with the girls and would have been the best on either team - she was very, very good,” said Br Ryan.
Liam’s father and uncle on the other hand were not so talented with it came to mastering the hurl. “There were six boys in our family and there was none of us any good,” Br Ryan joked. “So we are delighted to have somebody in the family who can hurl.”
The talent skipped a generation as Br Ryans’s father, Tom Ryan, hurled for Wexford in the 1950s. He played on both the 1955 and 1956 All-Ireland winning teams.
“In his first game with the Wexford senior hurlers he scored four goals against Limerick,” said Br Ryan.
The Enniscorthy native is a learning support teacher in the CBS primary school in Charleville. He taught in Doon CBS for six years and in Sexton Street CBS for two years.
He recalls supporting Limerick during their 1996 campaign, that was until they came face-to-face with his native Wexford in Croker.
“I had been following Limerick all along and got the shock of my life when Limerick and Wexford met in the All-Ireland final.
“With the Wexford manager [Liam Dunne who played in the 1996 final] on the sideline on Sunday, I think that Limerick will have a score to settle. I think they will be up for this match, Limerick,” said Br Ryan.
Wexford, he said, will have to be tired after three weeks on the trot - first taking on Clare, then the Bannermen again in the replay followed by Waterford last week “but that won’t stop them”.
“They are young and they are hungry for it,” he smiled.