Ryan Price is enjoying his dual sporting roles

Ryan Price is enjoying his dual sporting roles

Ryan Price in action for the Cork Admirals American Football team.

FORMER Cork senior football goalkeeper Ryan Price is currently successfully combining playing club football and American football with the Cork Admirals.

Ryan who made his championship debut for the Rebels during the 2016 season has enjoyed a very strong debut season playing with the Admirals. With two games to go in the season, he is hopeful they can make the playoffs. 

“We lost our first two games. We are currently on a four-game winning streak. 4-2 is our current record with two games in the regular season to go. All going well, there will be a playoff semi-final and a bowl game to look forward to,” he said.

The O’Donovan Rossa goalkeeper is operating as a slot receiver, kicker, and punter with the Cork Admirals. He admits he still has ‘plenty to work on’ but credits the coaches for their patience in adapting to a new sport. 

“I started out the season as a wide receiver, but I was recently moved inside to slot receiver. I’m also playing kicker and punter. I really struggled in the first few games. I couldn’t get to grips with it. The coaches have stuck by me. I still have plenty to work on and improve, but I’m happy with the trajectory.” 

Price, who always followed American football from afar, decided to take the plunge and take up playing the sport at the end of last year. After the conclusion of the club championship last season, he decided to embark on a new challenge. 

 O'Donovan Rossa's Ryan Price and Shane O'Driscoll in action against St Michaels Adam Hennessy. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
O'Donovan Rossa's Ryan Price and Shane O'Driscoll in action against St Michaels Adam Hennessy. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

“I always followed the Cork Admirals team on their social media pages. I always had it in my head that I would try it at some stage. However, the timing was always an issue due to the demands of the GAA season. 

"The Admirals were holding a rookie camp for newcomers at the end of October and our GAA season also finished up in October.

“I knew that if I didn’t try it then I never would. It’s a mad feeling as a 31-year-old being taught something completely alien to me. It’s like I’m learning to ride a bike, and I still have the stabilizers on. The complexities of the game are infinite. 

"In American Football, every play is a set-piece. It is like mixing a game of chess with brutal physicality. The pads and helmet help. The padding gives you license to run full tilt at someone, every time. 

"If you’re not going 100% at all times, that’s when you’ll get hurt. There are some big and angry men playing this game. I figured that one out the hard way,” he added.

The Admirals are the only Munster team who plays in the Premier Division. This ensures a lot of travelling is required at weekends. He said he made the conscious decision to step back from his club football commitments at the start of the season to pursue his American dream. 

“The shortest we would be travelling for an away game is Dublin. There are two teams in Belfast and one in Armagh. I made a conscious decision at the end of last season that I would be stepping back from GAA for a few months, just to reset and clear my head after a few difficult seasons. 

"I have missed a good chunk of the league campaign. I spoke with Gene O’Donovan our manager after he was appointed, and he was incredibly supportive.” 

Price who also enjoyed much success with Cork City FC underage teams said playing American football in recent months has helped ensure he has never been as physically strong during his career. 

Ryan Price on duty for Cork against Longford in 2016. Picture: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Ryan Price on duty for Cork against Longford in 2016. Picture: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

“It has helped me physically. I don’t recall having ever been this physically strong in my sporting career. When you’re being tasked with stopping men who are 100kg and are sprinting at you, you don’t have much of a choice in the physicality department. 

"There is certainly a crossover in the skillset such as quick footwork, clean hands, sprinting, and kicking.” 

The talented goalkeeper is currently combining GAA and American football. Price has played in the last four league games for the Rossas which has coincided with an upturn in fortunes for the Skibb-based team. 

“It is great to be back. We had a good win against Ilen Rovers. It was important to get the winning feeling back in the camp before the championship. 

"We are under no illusions that we will face a different beast altogether when we meet Ilen Rovers in the championship.” 

Price was given his Cork debut by Peadar Healy and has fond memories of his time playing with the Cork senior footballers. 

“Great memories. To represent your county on some of the biggest sporting stages this country has to offer is something I don’t take for granted and isn’t forgotten easily. Of course, there was some pain along the way, but the journey is always the exciting part, not the destination.” 

The goalkeeper role is always evolving, and he has watched with interest how a lot of the modern keepers are playing as sweeper keepers. 

“It’s incredible to see the keeper role evolve so quickly and to see how different teams decide to deploy it. I’m thoroughly enjoying watching Armagh at the moment and seeing the extreme levels they are willing to go to with their keeper. It is risky but you can see the positive impact it can have.”

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