West Cork footballer was crucial in IT Carlow's impressive Sigerson Cup run

West Cork footballer was crucial in IT Carlow's impressive Sigerson Cup run
Mícheál Bannigan of DCU Dóchas Éireann in action against Sean Ryan of IT Carlow. Picture: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

BALLINASCARTHY club man Seán Ryan played a key role in helping IT Carlow reach the Sigerson Cup final recently.

The Carlow college football team took the scalp of a number of several much-vaunted college teams which ensured they reached the final of the prestigious college football decider. IT Carlow ultimately succumbed to a star studded DCU team in the final.

The Cork native played a big part in their strong run from his midfield berth. Seán was thrilled to help IT Carlow reach the Sigerson Cup final.

“Reaching the final was probably the most enjoyable experience I have had to date with football. Everyone was gutted at the loss.

“However, when we stepped back and compared this campaign to years gone by, you can’t help but feel proud of what we achieved.”

DCU defeated the gallant underdogs on a final score of 0-14 to 0-7 following the final played in the DCU Sportsgrounds, Glasnevin to claim the Sigerson Cup for the fifth time in their history. The Dublin-based college team featured a plethora of underage and senior Dublin footballers.

“DCU have a great history in the Sigerson Cup and they always have a very strong pick.

“They played with great composure on the night. They probably dealt with the occasion better than we did which was disappointing.

“They had Dublin senior players like Paddy Small and Shane Carthy who are well used to the big stage. There was a savage atmosphere at the game.

“I think something like 10 buses travelled from Carlow. The pitch in DCU is open enough. The pitch was bone dry. The surface couldn’t have been any better.”

Seán produced a number of brilliant individual displays throughout the Sigerson Cup campaign which enabled IT Carlow reach the Sigerson Cup final for the first time in their history. Seán excelled from his midfield berth.

His aerial prowess and strong runs were a feature of their wins en route to the final. The West Cork man was happy with his form throughout the campaign.

“It was great to mark some top- quality players throughout the campaign. The Sigerson Cup is of a very high standard of play. It is probably as close to playing inter-country as you can get. Playing alongside and against players of that calibre would definitely teach you a thing or two.”

IT Carlow’s campaign properly ignited after they defeated a star-studded IT Tralee team which featured David Clifford and Barry John Keane. IT Carlow netted three late goals to defeat the Kerry-based college team in Tralee. Seán was thrilled with their last-gasp win in Kerry.

”I think beating Tralee really gave us the momentum which carried us to the final. No one really gave us a hope that day as the Tralee Team on paper had some massive names. The bookies had us at 10/1 outsiders so that really shows how big a win it was. Being from Cork, it’s hard not to enjoy beating a team made up of predominantly Kerry lads.”

There were three Cork players in total on the IT Carlow panel for the recent Sigerson Cup final.

Dylan O’Donovan from the O’Donovan Rossa GAA Club and Owen Power from Castletownbere were also members of the IT Carlow squad. Seán enjoyed linking up with his two Rebel colleagues.

“Dylan is a great player. He is a very sticky back who always performs well. Owen Power was also on the panel this year. They are two very committed lads who no doubt will have a big part to play in next year’s Sigerson campaign.”

The Cork GAA enthusiast who recently turned 22-year-old is currently in his fourth year studying Athletic Therapy in IT Carlow. He is loving his time developing his talent in their first class facilities.

“IT Carlow has excellent facilities. They have a high performance gym, a great floodlight pitch, astro soccer pitch, rugby pitch and a running track on campus. This year they have also opened a new centre with a full-size floodlight 4G GAA astro, along with more GAA, soccer and rugby pitches. It is a great environment to progress and develop as a sports athlete.”

Attention for the ace midfielder now turns to club commitments with his beloved Ballinascarthy GAA Club. Seán is hopeful of a successful season in both football and hurling for Bal.

James Forde of Carraig na bhFear tackles Ballinascarthy's Sean Ryan. Picture: David Keane.
James Forde of Carraig na bhFear tackles Ballinascarthy's Sean Ryan. Picture: David Keane.

“I am really looking forward to the coming season with Bal. We are hoping we can push on from last year. The SW Junior grade is a massively competitive grade with no easy games.

“If we could match last year’s success in the hurling and go one better in the football then that would be unbelievable. Our aim is to try and go one better in the football and retain the Flyer Nyhan Cup. I would also love to see Carbery qualify for the senior championship as there’s been some great work put in with this team over the last few two years.”

His strong performances in the Sigerson Cup will hopefully lead to a run out with the Cork footballers in the future. Sean previously played for the Cork U17 and minor team.

“I played for Cork at underage level which was a great experience. It would be great if that opportunity presented itself again down the line.”

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