Pat Ryan says he feels "more lucky than unlucky" when it comes to his Limerick hurling career. Ryan, a three-time All-Ireland winner, was omitted from the Limerick panel for this season's Allianz Hurling League.
The 28-year-old had re-emerged as a contender for the Limerick panel this season after being dropped in 2022 over an "incident after a game" where he "let the standards of the group down".
"I got the pre-season in but when the league panel was being put together, I just didn't make the squad for this year. That's just the way it is. There's fierce talent coming through," Ryan told Off The Ball.
"It’s complete honesty on [John Kiely's] part. He will just let you know and tell you that ‘you mightn’t be doing this for me’ or 'we might be looking at this kind of player'.
"There are so many young players that are coming through in the county that are very impressive as you would have seen in the league.
"I was disappointed not to be involved for this year but instead of looking at what I don’t have in this year, I would rather look back on the last six or seven years and what I did get out of it. I feel more lucky than unlucky I can tell you that!"
Last May, Ryan was dropped from the panel following an incident after Limerick's Munster Championship victory over Tipperary.
"I won’t get into too much detail but there was an incident after a game where I let the standards of the group down," Ryan explained.
"The following day I woke up quite early, on reflection I just rang John. We met then that evening. Probably the most honest man I have ever met.
"He is a principal by nature - it was kind of like a principal's meeting - but there is no talking down to you or anything like that. It’s just, 'OK this has happened now. The group is too important'.
"Like that management team have done for years. They are only looking at what’s best for Limerick.
"I took full accountability and he was just like ‘you have to take a step back from the group now and we will talk in a couple of months’. That was kind of it really."
Ryan added that when John Kiely did call him back into the panel ahead of this year, "there was no hangover or anything like that" due to the incident which resulted in him being dropped the previous season.
Limerick subs referred to as 'The Bomb Squad'
During his Limerick career, Ryan became known as an impact sub. The Doon player revealed that the Limerick replacements are referred within the panel as 'The Bomb Squad'.
"Every player wants to start," said Ryan.
"That never changes, even when you are in that role. You never really, truly accept it in a way. When the team is named on a Friday night, you're always disappointed because you're always pushing hard to start. You have to get over it quite quickly.
"John and the management team are excellent on that, in terms of placing the importance on the subs coming in. The way I used to look at it was that if the game was anyway close at all, if you're three up or down, and you're coming on for the last 10 or 15 minutes, you're being asked to come in at the most important time in the game. It doesn't dilute your importance if you look at it that way. You might only get one or two balls, if you can make a positive impact with five minutes to go, and the game is tight, you feel like you're really bringing something to the table.
"Before the game, John would come and speak to the subs more than he'd speak to the starting XV. Even on a Tuesday night going through tactics, there's no such thing as just talking to the starting XV players.
"No one ever phrased it to us as 'finishers'. In the last two years, maybe, there was a term, the subs and the management referring to themselves as 'The Bomb Squad'."