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Valerie Mulcahy on Eamonn Ryan | 'He treated us as athletes, not female athletes'

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

19:47 14 Jan 2021

Cork LGFA legend Valerie Mulcahy joined Off The Ball to discuss her close relationship with former manager Eamonn Ryan, whose death was announced on Thursday afternoon.

All of Mulcahy's All Ireland victories came under Ryan's guidance, so there are few better to pay tribute to his influence on his players, Cork and the GAA.

Eamonn Ryan

"He knew what it took to be a good team, to be solid and all striving for the one goal," Mulcahy said.

"He would always have referred to 'us' and 'we'; the collective of the management and the squad.

"We were all very much as one and like a family, and he certainly created and fostered that environment.

"He was very much looking out for everyone and you knew that he always had your back and had a great loyalty to players.

"We were loyal to him too, it was that reciprocal relationship."

Sing-songs

It was not just on the pitch that Ryan would help those in his charge.

"He helped me with Irish before interviews, he would work on my kicking game by doing some kicking practice - that was his way of saying I needed to work on it!

"But he had a lovely way about him and it was lovely spending time with him.

"A great guy to tell a story, loved the simplicity of having a sing-song after the whistle blows.

"The simple pleasures of life; the camaraderie and the sing-song.

"We would always gather together in the warm-up area in Croke Park and have a sing-song and our photos before we'd go into the family."

'He treated us like athletes'

Mulcahy remembered Ryan's attention to their progress on and off the field.

"He loved us singing 'Simply The Best', it was a lovely one.

"For such a humble guy, he had us shouting out 'Simply The Best' when the victories came along on All Ireland day.

"A lot of us were shaped by him, we became better people than athletes.

"There was always some craic or wit about him. A man who liked the simple things, and who really devoted a lot of time and attention to us.

"What I loved is that he treated us as athletes and players, not female athletes. He felt that making that distinction would have reduced our value."

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Cork Cork LGFA Eamonn Ryan GAA Lgfa

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