Recovering Donnacha Ryan just taking it a step at a time

After more than a year on the sidelines with a foot injury, Donnacha Ryan is just pleased to be back on the field and in line to help Munster toward a Guinness Pro 12 title when they play Ospreys in Saturday’s semi-final at Thomond Park.

All talk of perhaps working his way back into a situation where he can press for a place in Ireland’s World Cup squad for later this year is on the back burner.

Ireland? “No, I’m training tomorrow and that’s about it. I just have to manage my situation and see how I pull up each day. It’s all about the moment. It might make for a nice piece (for you guys) but every step I take now…there is still a big scar in the middle of my foot... I have to keep everything in perspective.

“I need to make sure I recover before training on Thursday. For me, it’s focusing on my own thing. I was miles off the pace, I couldn’t really walk and I was in the boots (special) for the bones of eight months, out for 13 months altogether. So it’s about re-programming everything again.

“It’s just nice to get back playing and get out training with the lads as well. I am delighted to be able to have gone out and played the last couple of games.” It was a long time wondering where he was going or indeed whether he was going anywhere fast: “When people come up to you, and start saying; ‘How are you enjoying retirement’, they were the sort of questions you are dealing with. That’s the reality. It is a difficult tightrope you are walking in that situation. You don’t know what the future holds.

“All you can do is focus on what you can control. What I did was focus on what I could in a sense, kept training as much as I could, starting again from being able to walk and then from an academic point of view, to go back and study geology, met with a mentor; I got some work experience, that was fantastic, just to get direction.

“It would be useless energy to have if you were sitting at home wallowing and listening to questions, questions on your future, something you don’t know what’s going to happen really with.

“Certainly turning on the TV on a Saturday and watching the lads play was something obviously quite frustrating, but as I said, it was about focusing on what you can control and that is what I have been doing really.

“I went into the gym after I started coming back having gotten my sesamoid (bone in foot) taken out. Ironically enough there was a guy in there who was training for the Paralympics and he had no use of his legs, so I was happy to have my feet. But yeah, certainly there is ups and downs, but like I said, you can kinda focus on what you got.

“For me it was about managing the pain, I tried to rehab it for a while and it didn’t work out, it’s fairly boring now talking about that stuff, it is what it is, it happens to everyone (a lot), Damian Varley had a bad injury and didn’t come out the right end of it and I suppose from his point of view you have to look at what do you do next, it’s probably the making of you and when you look back on a year out injured you wonder what you have to show for it, and it has been productive as much as it can be for me.”

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