A TALENTED young Limerick rugby player jetted out to France this week to further his playing career with Auch.
Shannon clubman and former Irish U-19 international Frank Bradshaw-Ryan, who has also played for Munster A, joined the Fédérale 1 league side on a one-year contract.
The former Ardscoil Ris schools star from Clareview, who turned 21 recently, will be playing in the third tier of French rugby with his new club located near Toulouse.
Athletic second-row Bradshaw-Ryan is excited to have an opportunity to realise his dream of playing professional rugby.
Frank Bradshaw-Ryan explained: "After school, I didn't get offered any type of contract with Munster. I went to college to do Economics and Maths in UL. I got into the Irish set-up, at U-19s level.
“After that I was called into the sub-academy with Munster and I was doing that while I was in college.
"I went into the Munster sub-academy in November 2013 and I was told there was no contract for me in October of 2015. I was there for two years almost.
"I had a good two years, but whether it was number of places, budgets, whatever, I was probably a bit unlukcy not to get a contract.
“It is unfortunate I never got a contract with Munster, which would have been a dream of mine all the way up. But these things happen and you just have to get on with it.
“The idea of playing abroad first came into my head in May of 2015 when I didn’t get a Munster contract and I wondered what would I do.
“I was always 'Munster, Munster, Munster.' I researched myself a small bit on-line to see what my option were.
"I did my research on-line and found an agent in France. I put my video clips together and I sent it to him and explained my situation to him.
“I told him I was looking to go away and play professional rugby and he was enthusiastic from the start and felt I should be able to find a few offers.
“He came to me in April of this year and said there was a reputable club in France, Auch, who were really interested in signing me. He said they had a very good reputation for bringing through young players. Negotiations went on from there. They made me a formal offer at the end of May.
“My mum, Jane, passed away earlier this summer and the move to France was on hold for a while, but we made a family decision at the end of June that I should go to Auch.
“I decided that I would celebrate my 21st birthday here at the end of July before moving over.
“I did two weeks of pre-season with Shannon and they have been super supportive. You couldn't really have asked for better from them.
“Auch have been a Top 14 side in the past. There is a second row from Dublin there, Dean Moore, who played with Old Belvedere. Having another Irish player there is a big plus from my point of view.
“Auch lost out in a quarter-final s of the Federale 1 play-offs last season to get to Pro D2.
“The format of the competition has changed this year. We are in an elite pool this season, with all the professional clubs - I think there are 11 of them - so I will be playing against a high quality player which I probably didn't get the chance to do here.”
“Our competitive season starts in France on September 11, but we have pre-season games before that. I am really looking forward to getting out on the pitch as I haven't played a game since April.”
Born in England, Frank Bradshaw Ryan moved back to Ireland when he was six and played his club rugby with Shannon.
He said: “My family are a huge Shannon family. I played with the club from aged six until I went to Ardscoil Ris, before returning back to them after school
“When I was young, Shannon were winning AIL's all around them. You look up to that. You would see fellas more playing club rugby than provincial rugby back then.
“The likes of Jerry Flannery, Mick Galwey, Mushy Buckley, all these guys, Tom Hayes. I grew up watching them and they went on to play professional rugby.”