Aidan Ryan has enjoyed a break from junior football following his departure from Janesboro Football Club in early September. Ryan spent three years at the southside club and won three league titles, an Oscar Traynor Trophy, Lawson and Munster Champions Cup during a hugely successful period and looks back fondly.
“Overall, I think my time at the club was great. I thought during the three years that we made a lot of progress and we won a fair amount of trophies. We won 6 trophies in 3 seasons so from a logical point of view, it was probably a success.
There were probably things that we could have done better but overall winning three leagues in a row for the first time in the club’s history and to be the first club to win the Oscar Traynor was a fantastic achievement for the players and the whole club.
There was also the Lawson and Munster Champions Cups to throw in to the mix. Possibly, we could have done better in the Munster Junior, losing a final and the FAI Junior Cup.”
Aidan also takes a lot of pride in the fact that the likes of Danny O’Neill and Shane Clarke were capped at Junior international level during his tenure at the club as co-manager with current Janesboro manager Shane O’Hanlon while praising other unsung heroes in the backroom staff.
“While myself and Shane (O’Hanlon) were together, there was a lot of players capped so I would look at it as a success. I worked with some great people at the club like Percy Ryan, Jim Nugent and Martin Sugrue who is a great coach and manager in his own right and of course working with Shane was fantastic also.”
Following three successful years, both the coaching and playing staff began to depart abruptly. Ryan is adamant that the departure of several key players had nothing to do with his own exit from the club and reveals he had contemplated leaving in June.
“It was no secret within the club that I wanted to leave in June. For various reasons, I hung on. We played six leagues games and won four and lost two so we weren’t doing too badly.
Immediately after the league win out in Kilmallock, I realised that it was time to part ways. I didn’t fall out with anyone at Janesboro and nobody fell out with me. There were a couple of reasons for my departure but that would have remained between myself and the Janesboro committee.
They weren’t huge things but from a footballing viewpoint, I felt they were. These things can run their course too If you are looking back on it now, some of our victories weren’t appreciated around the city. To win three league titles and the Oscar Traynor, I think people will look back on it in years to come and appreciate it more. “
It wasn’t long before the former Geraldines manager was back involved in football. Long time friend Noel O’Connor contacted Ryan with a view to becoming involved in the newly launched Limerick District League Academy. Ryan is now heavily involved with both the U14s and U15s sides and is thoroughly enjoying the experience.
“I am doing coaching with the 15s who would have been last year’s Kennedy Cup squad. I am involved this year with the Kennedy Cup development squad again with Noel O’Connor and Kevin Fitzpatrick. Dave Mahedy’s experience is also vital in things like this.
Karl O’Donovan is also involved who is an excellent coach and has done fantastic work with the squad already. Last Sunday you had the U 14S in at 9 o’clock and after that you had the U12s on.
It was unbelievable to see 80 children at U12 level with their coaches Chris Collopy, Anthony O’Neill, Ken O’Connor, Kevin Fitzpatrick and Anthony McCormack. To see the organisation and coahing ability of these lads to organise 80 kids was incredible.”
As well as the large number of schoolboys/girls turning out every week for the academy, there is also a lot of early success with two finals contested in UL last Sunday with contrasting results.
“The U13s were playing in the semi-final of the inter-league and played a very good Waterford team and although they went down on the day, they acquitted themselves very well. The U15s were playing at the same time against Waterford also and we came through that to reach the final against Cork at a later date.”
The former Prospect man admits that he has surprised himself with his decision to become involved with the Limerick District Schoolboy Academy but the influence of Noel O’Connor was vital in the decision making process.
“If you said to me 18 months ago that I would be involved in a schoolboy set up, I probably would have laughed at you. My previous work with schoolboys was limited to doing odd sessions for clubs when they phoned me and asked me to do a session.
I didn’t envisage myself being involved in it. The carrot of working with Noel O’Connor again was a big draw because outside of being a friend, Noel is a great football person and has fantastic vision for soccer in Limerick and I share that vision. We both have a love for all strands of football in Limerick and we want to see it succeed.”
Limerick United held their first press conference since being accepted into the Airtricity League at Women’s and underage level and Ryan is hopeful that it will be a positive move for soccer in the city.
“Anything that is going to enhance the footballing future of Limerick has got to be a good thing. Obviously, there has been a lot of negative publicity at the moment in terms of Limerick soccer.
Hopefully we will develop players in the future that will represent Limerick back in the League of Ireland. It is going to take a lot of work and we hope that academy set-up will be a success. The fact that the Limerick District League academy has started is a good thing as well.”