Macroom's John Ryan on his love of refereeing and coaching

One of the top football refs in the county, the De La Salle teacher is also involved with the school's senior team
Macroom's John Ryan on his love of refereeing and coaching

Referee David Murnane and linesman John Ryan getting ready prior to the Carbery Rangers v Castlehaven match last season. Picture Dan Linehan

JOHN RYAN is regarded by many as one of the top referees in Cork GAA circles and his passion for all things Gaelic Games can also be seen by his dedicated work at De La Salle Macroom.

Ryan, a Business and Accounting teacher in the Mid Cork secondary school, is currently coaching the De La Salle senior team.

Among those involved with coaching that De La Salle Senior team is the Kerry goalkeeper Shane Ryan, who also teaches in the school. Noel Dunne and Liam Long are also members of the management setup.

Being located in Muskerry and with GAA clubs from the surrounding areas sending pupils, there is a high interest and uptake in GAA in the De La Salle Macroom.

He speaks to The Echo about how great it is to at long last this academic year to have young players out on the field of play.

“It is great to be back on the field. There was one Wednesday there where we had our U14 team, U16 team and senior team out and had over 110 players training.

“There is a big buy-in from the school and from the players. There is a great tradition of football in the school from the former principal Noel Dunne to the current principal John Murphy and the vice-principal Eric Graham. We have a very good staff and very good support from the teaching staff as well.

“It is great for everybody’s wellbeing, especially the young lads. They missed out last year on a year’s football during Covid. It is just great to be on the GAA fields again."

Though they aren't in the Corn Uí Mhuirí this season, there is still plenty of talented players in the school.

“We are going well with the senior team at the moment. We came down to Munster B (Corn Donnacha Uí Nuanáin) this year and we are playing Cork Colleges Senior A (Simcox Cup).

“So we are looking forward to the challenge ahead. 

We train on Wednesday after school and on a Friday morning before school. We have about 40-45 fellas looking to put their hand up for senior football.

“There is a great culture there and we are trying to drive it on."

Ryan started for the De La Salle Macroom team that won the prestigious Corn Uí Mhuirí in 2006.

This was a final which saw De La Salle come out on top courtesy of a victory over St Flannan’s College Ennis.

“We had a very good team in 2006,” Ryan recalls. “We beat St Flannan’s College Ennis in the final. I have great memories as a student. 

“We have been very unlucky in three finals since then. The most recent one in 2014 against Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne. So we have been very unlucky that we haven’t added another one.

“It just goes in cycles. We are building again for the future. Hopefully, in the next couple of years, our aim would be to go back up to Corn Uí Mhuirí and have a go at it.” 

With staff members willing to put in the hard work such as Ryan, there is every chance that football in the De La Salle Macroom will see evidence of progression over the forthcoming number of years.

Brian Cotter (Ballincollig), referee John Ryan and Aidan Murray (Dripsey) before a recent junior match.
Brian Cotter (Ballincollig), referee John Ryan and Aidan Murray (Dripsey) before a recent junior match.

Ryan was the match official at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday afternoon for the epic Cork Premier Senior Football semi-final encounter between St Finbarr’s and Castlehaven.

After the number of months of lockdown during the last eighteen months, Ryan has been delighted to get out.

“It has been flat to the mat I suppose. Some weekends there you could have two or three games. Overall it is great to be back out. We were long enough inside at home, wondering if we would ever get back out.

“So from a fitness point of view and a wellbeing point of view, just to get out is great. To meet everyone again is great. You wouldn’t realize what you have until it is taken away from you.

Definitely through lockdown, I found it was a very long week because I was so used to going off on a Saturday or a Sunday or a match at night.

“So meeting the players and the management teams, just to get back out there again has been brilliant.” 

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