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squash star ryan aiding dubs show

Derek Ryan was one of the best squash players in the world. Now he is part of Colum King's Dublin managerial ticket.

Derek had his butter and bread in Killiney. He was gifted at squash. He was surrounded by squash courts - Killiney Castle, Sandycove and Squash Ireland.

The sport was at its height. He was still in his teens when he became Irish number one. He rose to become number seven in the world.

He played as a professional for several years, basing himself in Manchester. It was a tough existence.

"Squash is up there among the most demanding sports," he says. "I am sure there are tougher ones out there like cycling, etc, but squash is tough.

"And you have to be fit. If you are not, you just pick up injuries. The movement is so dynamic, a bit like camogie and hurling. The movement is multi-directional."

Derek went to school at Presentation, Glasthule. Willie Dawson was a pupil there. Willie is the Dad of Harry, of Skerries and the Dubs.

Willie was a brilliant sportsman. He could play anything. "I dabbled at a few different sports, but squash was the big one," recalled Derek.

"I played pro for 12 years. I got a lot out of it. Getting to number seven in the world meant a lot to me."

He was thrilled to get the camogie call. "It is certainly something different, and it has been a breath of fresh air.

"I have been very impressed with how hard the girls work for each other. And there has been excellent progress made since the beginning of the season. They are growing and growing in confidence, which is great to see."

Derek is now a highly regarded physiotherapist. "It's enjoyable. I like being around sports-people."

He plays squash at Fitzwilliam. "It keeps me healthy and fit, and I still love competing."