TJ Ryan’s Munster championship relationship can be traced all the way back to 1986 when he lined out in the Primary Game as a pupil of Knocklong National School.
Eight years later the Garryspillane man made his senior championship debut as a Limerick hurler.
He would advance to play 40-times over the next 12 seasons.
Since the retirement of the former county captain in 2006 he has managed his native club at underage and adult level.
In 2011 he was a Limerick senior selector, county U-21 manager in 2013 and this Sunday he comes full circle when he manages his native county into the Munster SHC action - the first Limerick native to do so since Eamonn Cregan in the 2002.
“When you are training yourself you basically have to get yourself right and get your bag organised before training and bring it home and give it to herself for the next day! Now your basically looking after the whole kit and caboodle,” explained Ryan this week.
“But I am fortunate with the backroom team - the amount of help that is there is great.”
Despite a Spring of discontent, that saw his joint-manager Donal O’Grady step down, Ryan is more confident that the Limerick hurling public.
“I think maybe it’s a lack of positivity more so than a lack of confidence. Maybe in the first round of the league we got a good away result against Cork and we were expected to go on and win the rest of the games but the way things turned out against Offaly was unfortunate and we had a poor performance in the second half against Galway and that’s where it led from. Its a bit understandable but at the same time we are staying positive. It’s important that Limerick are Munster champions and depressingly so after two brilliant wins last year. In all sports the defending champions are usually hard to beat and we have to make sure we bring that to the table and we will be driving that message through to the players,” he explained.
“From my point of view we will do everything possible on the field to make sure we can give a great performance. Obviously I am optimistic and to be fair to the players they have been incredible. Obviously going to Thurles is a difficult start to any championship. For any team to go there and win is difficult. They were exceptionally good in the league a final and we know what we have to do,” outlined the Limerick manager.