COBH RAMBLERS’ strength-and-conditioning coach, Dermot Ryan, is looking forward to the 2022 League Of Ireland season.
The first-team squad are back doing pre-season preparations in recent weeks at District Health & Leisure Cork. Given the fitness required of a League Of Ireland player, a solid base and a good pre-season are vital.
Ryan outlines the importance that first-team manager, Darren Murphy, is placing on S&C and fitness coaching.
“The club has backed us fully. You have seen the coaching staff that Darren has put together. If Darren feels that we need to add more, then we will add more. We are always looking to improve.
“For us to have this chance to go in early for pre-season, we already started back into gym work and muscle-building, gradually increasing our fitness. So to have that opportunity is a great privilege. It is a huge opportunity for us to stamp our own authority on the team and to try and move forward.
"The good thing from my side, as well with my role, is the fact that I have worked with Darren for a good few years. I worked with him at Wanderers and the Cobh Ramblers U19s as well.
“Darren knows me and I know him. We have a great relationship that way. Darren puts a great emphasis on strength and conditioning.
“That is because it is like anything: You could be the most talented player in the world, but if you don’t have the correct attitude or the correct strength/physique, you can’t be as competitive as you may want to be in the First Division.
“That was of huge importance for both of us when we got the role back in early August/late July. So, we identified certain areas and then we’d work on them.
“That was something that when we initially went in, we felt that was one of the areas we needed to improve.
“Fitness has all different shapes, sizes, and different aspects to it. So it is not a case of just running around a pitch for 90 minutes. But it is the conditioning side of it and the physical side of it.
The League Of Ireland First Division is so physical and demanding on the body. For me, recovery is a huge part of it and it is key. Nutrition is huge as well and what foods the team are putting into them.
“We identified a lot of this and we changed a lot of that structure.”
Ryan has been a certified personal trainer for the past eight years, predominantly focusing on strength and conditioning.
He also played with the successful St Michael’s side in Tipperary, before moving to Cork and the Munster Senior League. After initially working with Darren Murphy on the coaching set-up at Cobh Wanderers, Ryan joined Murphy with the Ramblers U19s side, before stepping up to the first-team management midway through the 2021 campaign.
“The other side of it then was that we had to get the buy-in of the players,” says Ryan. “We had to build that trust and we had to build a relationship.
“Absolutely it was one of the main things we identified was the fitness levels. Obviously, it took a few weeks to break in and get our stride in, to get the players to buy into it. But as you could see with the results at the end of the season, it paid off.”
Next year will be a landmark campaign for the St Colman’s Park club, with their 100th-anniversary celebrations.
“Look at the lads that I am working with in the first-team coaching staff. Darren Murphy, Fran (Rockett), Flynny (John O’Flynn), Conor Meade, and Derek (Coughlan), all of these lads leave no stone unturned.
There is no off-season anymore. It is a transitional phase. So we’ve been having weekly Zooms, we have calendars in place, and we have plans in place.
“We are putting friendlies in place come January, where we will start the pre-season.
“So all things will get touched on and everyone will have a voice. We will see how we can improve going into this season. Look at last season, what worked well and what didn’t work well. We will go through everything from start to finish.”