Liam MacCarthy Cup reunites Limerick hurler Colin and friend Kenneth in spirit

Donal O'Regan

Reporter:

Donal O'Regan

Limerick and Pallasgreen hurler, Colin Ryan “Malachy” brings the Liam MacCarthy Cup to the grave of his close friend Kenneth Ryan, killed in a quad bike accident four years ago

Limerick and Pallasgreen hurler, Colin Ryan “Malachy” brings the Liam MacCarthy Cup to the grave of his close friend Kenneth Ryan, killed in a quad bike accident four years ago

AMID the jubilation and chaos when the whistle blew on All-Ireland final day, Limerick hurler Colin Ryan “Malachy” quietly thought of his late and great friend, Kenneth Ryan.

He was killed in a quad bike accident near Oola four years ago. Kenneth was 17.

Colin and Kenneth sat together in primary school in Nicker, hurled on the same underage Pallasgreen teams and stood beside each other in their Holy Communion and Confirmation class photos. They were together again in spirit last week when Colin brought the Liam MacCarthy Cup to Kenneth’s grave in Pallasgreen.

“When you win big I always think of him. He was one of my close friends. The minute we won I just knew I was going to do it. I didn’t tell anyone,” said Colin. 

Kenneth died on July 22, 2014, the day of the replayed Munster minor hurling championship final between Limerick and Waterford.

“It was heartbreaking. We were on the bus and ambulances passed us out. We went to Drom-Inch GAA Club for a team talk and a bit of a warm up. I can remember breaking down,” said Colin. 

Somehow he summoned the courage to play and scored two points in the win. Colin dedicated that victory to Kenneth.

“He didn’t have a bad bone in his body. You could have a great laugh with him in the dressing room - he was one of the funny fellows, he never took anything too seriously. He was always great craic. We always kind of looked up to Kenneth. He was the leader of the group, anything he did, we always helped him out. He was friends with everybody,” said Colin.

Kenneth loved going to Limerick and Pallasgreen club games.

He would have been right in the middle of the All-Ireland celebrations, especially their own homecoming in the parish last week.

Colin ensured he was part of it when he gently placed the Liam MacCarthy Cup on his grave. He then sent the photo as a touching surprise to Kenneth’s mum, Sara Mulready.

Sara got in touch with the Limerick Leader to highlight Colin’s thoughtfulness and express how much the gesture means to her.

“I had two reactions as such, sadness and happiness. Kenneth would have loved the celebrations and Colin knows that. 

“Kenneth would have gone around with them to every parish with the Cup. He would have thought he won the Cup himself!

“I just thought it was a lovely thing for Colin to do. He's a lovely young fellow, the whole family are," said Sara.

She said the two boys were in school together in Nicker and in Doon and made their Holy Communion and Confirmation together.

“They played on the same teams, Kenneth was the goalie. Pallasgreen GAA Club gave a guard of honour at his funeral. Everybody knew Kenneth. He always had a smile on his face,” added Sara.

And Kenneth was definitely smiling when he looked down at his great friend and All-Ireland winning Limerick hurler bringing the Liam MacCarthy Cup to visit him.