Towards the middle of the last decade, Brian Ryan played a major role in assisting in the hurling development of a host of future star Limerick senior hurlers.
By Paddy Hickey
And now, he is eagerly looking forward to taking under his wing former star Cork goalkeeper Anthony Nash, who earlier this year made national headlines after transferring from his home club of Kanturk to the South Liberties unit in Limerick.
Back in 2013 and 2014, Ryan was at the managerial helm when the Shannonsiders succeeded in racking up a brace of Munster minor hurling titles, before subsequently respectively coming up short at the All-Ireland semi-final stage to Galway and in the All-Ireland final against Kilkenny.
And among the players that the team boss was able to call on for those two campaigns were Sean Finn, Seamus Flanagan, Aaron Gillane, Cian Lynch and Tom Morrissey, who featured in Limerick’s All-Ireland senior wins in 2018 and 2020, Mike Casey and Richie English, who played in the 2018 decider, and South Liberties’ man Barry Nash, who lined out in last year’s final success.
Recalling the contributions made by the future senior stars, Ryan said: “You could already see at that stage how talented and how committed a bunch of hurlers all the lads were.
“And, of course, they made a massive contribution to us winning the two Munster titles.
“As well, we were very unlucky not to win the 2013 All-Ireland semi-final as a malfunction by the Hawk-Eye system, which that day was being tried out for the first time, deprived us of a point for a shot that definitely went between the posts.
“As a result, the game finished in a draw, and Galway went on to win the game in extra time,” added Ryan, who this year has taken over in the South Liberties hot seat from Cathal O’Neill.
Referring to the notable acquisition of two-time All Star Nash, the Liberties’ boss said: “Of course, we are delighted that a player of Anthony’s outstanding quality and country-wide reputation has come to the club.
“Anthony’s parents, Thomas Nash (a brother of former Limerick hurlers Declan and Mike Nash) and Phyllis Shanahan are both from the parish of Ballyneety, about five miles from Limerick City, where South Liberties is situated, and they would have lived here until Thomas’s job as a garda sergeant took him to Kanturk.
“Over the years, Anthony Nash spent a lot of his time in Ballyneety and it would have been a long-time ambition of his to play for South Liberties before his club career came to an end,” added Ryan, who himself lined out with Limerick outfit Claughaun and famed Kilkenny club O’Loughlin Gaels, when he was based in the Marble City as a member of the Defence Forces.
And the Liberties’ manager went on to reveal that the availability of Nash won’t lead to a minuscule degree of resentment being harboured by the occupant of the club’s goalkeeping role for the last few Limerick Championship campaigns.
“Michael Moynihan, the man who has been playing in goal for the club in recent years, is nearing the end of his playing days, and he formerly played outfield before obliging the club by reverting to the goalkeeping position.
“So he will most willingly hand over the goalkeeping baton to Anthony.
“In last year’s county senior championship, South Liberties reached the quarter-final stage where they lost to Doon, who went on to reach the final.
“So hopefully, with the major bonus of having Anthony in our side, we will progress at least one step further in this year’s campaign.”