Video: Watch the famous Munster try that helped convert Donnacha Ryan from GAA to rugby
The Munster second-row will line out against England today and this is the try that helped turn him towards the oval ball.
Donnacha Ryan had big shoes to fill last week, in every sense. But the Munster man replaced Paul O’Connell, had a stormer and swept up the man of the match award against Scotland.
But he could just as easily be lining out for the Tipperary hurlers tomorrow in Semple Stadium instead of against England this evening at Twickenham. The Nenagh native grew up in a GAA house and his father, Matt, played hurling at inter-county level for Laois and Limerick.
Young Donnacha played all sports but it wasn’t until he was 17 and looking to bulk up a bit that he turned to rugby. He was on the Tipp minor football team too but his Leaving Cert year was spent in St Munchin’s College and between there and Nenagh RFC, his life’s plans changed.
His earliest rugby memory is Keith Woods try and Ronan O’Gara’s conversion against Saracens in 2000, the game that probably sealed the status of Thomond Park as a hell of a place to play.
In an interview in today’s Irish Times, Ryan tells Gerry Thornley that that Munster win was the first rugby game he can remember watching and who can blame him for being converted away from the sliotar after that.
But he may not be lost to the GAA forever. He does admit that he harbours hopes of a return to hurling with Nenagh down the line.
“If the body is still in one piece, when I’m finished, maybe Junior C or something,” he says. Imagine seeing Donnacha Ryan out to mark you in Junior C. Terrifying.