Aidan Ryan is one of those lads who lives and breathes club hurling. Cliched, perhaps, but his is no ordinary tale of devout service.
The 27-year-old departed for Australia in January 2012, but never managed to cut the umbilical cord to the club.
Eventually, the pangs for the black and white jersey became too much and a fortnight before their quarter-final clash with Bishopstown, Ryan booked a flight home. Midleton came a cropper in the tie and the centre-forward returned Down Under. His travels came to an end this summer and 24 hours after returning to East Cork, the 6’3” forward was back inside the whitewash, doing what he loves and knows best.
Yes, it is fair to say he lives and breathes Midleton hurling.
Ryan had always been a regular in the Midleton senior outfit, but knew others had stepped into the breach in his absence. Such is his nature, Ryan was willing to exhaust every avenue in a bid to impress Smith and his backroom team.
“The day after I arrived back I togged out for the junior As in a league game. I hadn’t picked up a hurley for nine months. It took a good four to five weeks to get the fitness some way right. I wanted to push for a place on the senior team, but I did know it would take a while. What helped was that there was no senior championship until md-August. I had six weeks to get myself right.
“I started in the Bride Rovers game and I was lucky enough to be starting. The form wasn’t great leading up to that game, but the management showed some faith in me. There was a bit of pressure to produce something in every game, be it a challenge match, league or championship. Lads had proven themselves while I was away and now I was under pressure to produce in every game to show your good enough. ”
And as for this weekend?
“Everyone knows Sars have been the most consistent team over the past six years. They have 20-22 very good players. We just have to try and match them.”
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