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Cathal Noonan Injuries restricted Ryan to just 16 minutes of championship playing time last summer.
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'We don’t want to be known for having won one All-Ireland. We want to get back there again'
Gearóid Ryan is ready to put his horrific injury history behind him and drive Tipp back to the top table.

TIPPERARY STAR GEARÓID Ryan doesn’t want to be remembered as a one-hit wonder.

Ryan was a fresh-faced 22-year-old when the Premier County surged to All-Ireland SHC glory in 2010.

But in the three championship campaigns since then, Tipp have seen their seasons ended by tomorrow’s Allianz Hurling League final opponents Kilkenny.

The Cats have gone on to write fresh history with Tipp left facing accusations of under achievement.

But Ryan insisted: “We don’t want to be known for having won one All-Ireland.

“We want to get back there again and prove to everyone that we are a good team.”

Ryan was part of an exciting group of young guns blooded during Liam Sheedy’s three-year spell in charge from 2008-2010.

And while Tipp contested three All-Ireland finals from 2009-2011, that memorable success four years ago is sandwiched between two losses to Kilkenny.

The challenge for Tipp now is to get one over on the Noresiders in a game of massive consequence – as Brian Cody’s men won last year’s League final and All-Ireland qualifier at the Gaelic Grounds.

But Ryan is simply glad to be back on the pitch again, having suffered an horrendous time with injuries over the last few seasons.

His championship game time was limited to just 16 minutes against Kilkenny last summer.

And Ryan didn’t play again in 2012 after coming off with minutes remaining in the Munster SHC semi-final against Limerick.

Gearoid Ryan disappointed at the end of the game Lorraine O'Sullivan / INPHO Ryan started on the Tipp team that lost to Kilkenny in the 2011 All-Ireland final. Lorraine O'Sullivan / INPHO / INPHO

It was the Allianz League semi-final against Cork in 2012 when Ryan, 25, first felt the physical symptoms of an injury that would plague him for the guts of two years.

Having experienced “fierce trouble” with his two groins, Ryan visited Dr. Patrick Carton at the Whitfield Clinic in Waterford late last year.

Dr. Carton informed Ryan that his problems were hip-related and the Templederry Kenyons clubman underwent surgery on both hips.

Ryan says: “Three months recovery from that – it was tough going. I got back playing a few games with the club but in my first game back I broke my thumb – another few weeks out.

“I suppose in one sense it mightn’t have been too bad. It gave me a few extra weeks to recover rather than being rushed back. I’m feeling fit now, raring to go.”

Dr. Carton had presented Ryan with a stark choice – he could have underwent groin surgery to solve the problem for a short time or go one step further and cure the issue for good.

Ryan confirms: “The hips would have needed to be done again. That was his take on it and I went with his advice. So far, so good.

He thought it was something I had all the time but (with) all the training, the wear and tear, it eventually came to a head.

“I remember the day I first realised – the League semi-final in Thurles in 2012.

“I didn’t make much of it at the time, you’re always picking up knocks here and there but as time went on it got worse and worse.

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Richie McCarthy and Rom Condon with Gearoid Ryan James Crombie / INPHO Ryan and TIpp lost to Limerick in the Munster Championship quarter-finals last summer. James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

“Last year, I got back early in the year and felt fine but as the training got more intense I just broke down again.

“I gave most of last year just getting myself right for the club games, I wasn’t up to the level required for in here (intercounty).”

Follow-up visits to the Whitfield Clinic have confirmed that Ryan is in the clear and his injury woes appear to be behind him.

He made cameo appearances from the bench against Cork and Clare during the concluding stages of the Allianz League and is pushing hard for a starting place against Kilkenny tomorrow, despite taking a knock to the head on club duty last weekend.

Ryan nodded: “This is the time of the year you’re trying to break in.

“From my own point of view, going by the dates, I thought I might get in a bit quicker but the thumb set me back.

To get in then last week (against Clare) was great, for the confidence and everything. It’s hard to stay training the whole time and get no reward – Clare was a big one for me.

Ryan’s return gives boss Eamon O’Shea a massive option coming off the bench – both in the half-forward line and midfield.

And Ryan admits that getting back in the fold has worked wonders for his mental state.

He explained: “You could start doubting yourself, seeing lads pushing on and wondering if you’ll be still up to it.

“I’m just delighted that Eamon and the boys had faith in me to give me 20 minutes against Clare.”

Power and Tyrrell return to Kilkenny starting line-up for Allianz Hurling final

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