CLARE MAY HAVE to plan without Conor Ryan this season after he has taken a year out on medical advice, but the squad will still benefit from the 2013 All-Ireland senior winner’s leadership and professional attitude.

Since winning an All-Ireland senior medal and an All-Star in 2013, the Cratloe man has been hindered by injuries in his bid to kick on.

He won’t be in hurling action in 2017 and will still have an analysis role in the backroom team.

But Tony Kelly has backed his team-mate to recover and feels that Ryan’s presence in their group will still be helpful.

“He’s been unlucky with injuries the last 12 months really. He hasn’t got a consistent run of just being injury free.

“Personally you’d feel sorry for himself. No one likes to be injured, especially when the season hasn’t really begun and he’s resigned to the fact that he won’t be taking to the field.

“Everyone knows the kind of leader he is on the field, but off the field he’s irreplaceable to be honest with his professionalism.

“Even if he’s not training, he’s first to the dressing room, he’s in the gym. You’re outside on the field hurling, he’s in the gym, doing his own stuff.

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Tony Kelly was speaking at today’s AIB All-Ireland senior club hurling final media day.

Source: Ramsey Cardy/SPORTSFILE


“For the younger lads coming into the panel, their first year on the panel, seeing that he’s injured and seeing the work he puts in, he’s definitely a role model for them lads as well.”

“Conor is 25, if he comes back next year, he’s still looking at six, seven years with the condition he keeps himself in.

“I don’t know what age he’ll be retiring at but it won’t be this side of 30 anyway. At least he’s going to be still around, involved with the management.”

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