Lester Ryan (hurler born 1988)

Lester Ryan

Lester Ryan in action for Kilkenny against Galway in the 2015 National Hurling League at Pearse Stadium
Personal information
Irish name Lester Ó Riain
Sport Hurling
Position Midfield
Born (1988-05-01) 1 May 1988
Clara, County Kilkenny, Ireland
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Occupation Secondary school teacher
Years Club
Club titles
Kilkenny titles 1
Years County Apps (scores)
2011–present Kilkenny 11 (0–3)
Inter-county titles
Leinster titles 2
All-Irelands 3
All Stars 0
*Inter County team apps and scores correct as of 19:33, 29 September 2014.

Lester Ryan (born 1 May 1988) is an Irish hurler who plays as a midfielder for the Kilkenny senior team.[1]

Born in Clara, County Kilkenny, Ryan first excelled at hurling in his youth. He arrived on the inter-county scene when he first linked up with the Kilkenny under-21 team, before later joining the intermediate side. He joined the senior panel for the 2011 championship.[2] Ryan has since become a regular member of the team and has won three All-Ireland medal, two Leinster medal and two National Hurling League medals. He captained the team to the All-Ireland title in 2014.

At club level Ryan is a one-time championship medallist at senior level with Clara. In addition to this he has also won All-Ireland, Leinster and championship medals in the intermediate grade.

Ryan's uncles, Lester and Harry Ryan, also played with Kilkenny.[3]

Playing career


Ryan was just out of the minor grade when he enjoyed his first success with the Clara intermediate hurling team in 2007. A 1–15 to 0–12 defeat of St. Lachtain's in the championship decider gave him his first winners' medal in that competition.

Five years later in 2012, Ryan added a second intermediate championship medal to his collection following a 1–7 to 0–4 defeat of St. Patrick's Ballyragget. Clara subsequently faced Oylegate/Glenbrien in the provincial decider. An incredible game followed, which saw Oylgate having four men dismissed for second-yellow card offences. Clara powered to a 3–20 to 0–5 victory, with Ryan collecting a Leinster medal.[4] The subsequent All-Ireland decider saw Clare face London-based St. Gabriel's. Clara were convincing 1–16 to 0–11 winners, with Ryan picking up a coveted All-Ireland medal.[5]

A year after making the step up to the top flight, Clara faced hot favourites Carrickshock in the senior championship decider in 2013. With four minutes of normal time left, Carrickshock looked the likely winners as they went two points ahead. Clara then won a free with just four minutes left. Ryan took the ball off regular free-taker Keith Hogan and decided to go for goal. Ryan fired to the net from 20 metres with a style similar to Anthony Nash. Two minutes later he popped over a point to extend Clara's lead. A 1–15 to 2–10 victory gave Ryan his first championship medal in the senior grade.[6]


Ryan made his first impression on the inter-county scene in 2008 as a member of the Kilkenny under-21 team. He won his first Leinster medal that year as Kilkenny trounced Offaly by 2–21 to 2–9.[7] Ryan later added a coveted All-Ireland medal following a 2–13 to 0–15 defeat of Tipperary in the decider.[8]

Kilkenny retained the provincial under-21 crown in 2009 following a 2–20 to 1–19 defeat of Dublin, giving Ryan a second Leinster medal in that grade.[9] Kilkenny subsequently had the chance to retain the All-Ireland crown, however, Ryan's side faced a narrow 0–15 to 0–14 defeat by first time champions Clare.[10]

Ryan joined the senior team after the 2011 National Hurling League and was a member of the panel for the subsequent Leinster and All-Ireland victories.

The 2012 National Hurling League was Ryan's first full campaign with the Kilkenny senior team, however, a knee cartilage injury after the first two rounds resulted in him facing a month-long lay-off. He was later restored to the starting fifteen and was once again a member of the panel as Kilkenny claimed All-Ireland honours.

Ryan was a regular member of the starting fifteen in 2013. He won a National Hurling League medal on the field of play that year as Kilkenny defeated Tipperary by 2–17 to 0–20.[11] He finished off the campaign by being named GAA-GPA Hurler of the League. Ryan made his senior championship debut on 9 June 2013 in a 0–26 to 4–9 defeat of Offaly.[12]

In February 2014 Ryan was appointed captain of the Kilkenny senior hurling team.[13] In the League Final he was introduced as a substitute during the team's 2–25 to 1–27 extra-time defeat of Tipperary in the final. It was his second National League medal while he also had the honour of lifting the cup.[14] He made a number of appearances in the championship, including in Kilkenny's 0–24 to 1–9 trouncing of Dublin in which he claimed his first Leinster medal on the field of play.[15] On 7 September 2014, Kilkenny faced Tipperary in the All-Ireland decider. In what some consider to be the greatest game of all-time, the sides were level when Tipperary were awarded a controversial free. John O'Dwyer had the chance to win the game, however, his late free drifted wide resulting in a draw.[16] The replay on 27 September 2014 was also a close affair. Goals from brothers Richie and John Power inspired Kilkenny to a 2–17 to 2–14 victory.[17] It was Ryan's third All-Ireland medal, while he also had the honour of lifting the Liam MacCarthy Cup.







  1. "Profile: Lester Ryan". Kilkenny GAA website. Retrieved 11 February 2014.
  2. "Ryan eager to stay centre stage after long wait in wings". Irish Independent. 14 May 2013. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  3. "7 things to know about Kilkenny's new hurling star Lester Ryan". The Score. 14 May 2013. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  4. Knox, John (3 December 2012). "Clara cruise as Murphy strikes". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
  5. "Clara have too much for St Gabriels". Hogan Stand website. 10 February 2013. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
  6. "Clara pull off seismic shock". Irish Examiner. 29 October 2013. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
  7. O'Flynn, Diarmuid (25 July 2008). "Offaly collapse gifts title to Cats". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
  8. Larkin, Brendan (15 September 2008). "Young Cats wrap up the perfect year". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
  9. Keane, Paul (16 July 2009). "Farrell brace secures Cats triumph". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
  10. O'Toole, Fintan (14 September 2009). "Last-gasp O'Donovan makes it a Clare day at Croker". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
  11. O'Flynn, Diarmuid (6 May 2013). "Fennelly goals keep cool Cats in driving seat". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
  12. "Kilkenny record triumph at Tullamore". Irish Independent. 10 June 2013. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
  13. "Ryan to captain Cats". Hogan Stand website. 11 February 2014. Retrieved 11 February 2014.
  14. O'Flynn, Diarmuid (5 May 2014). "Cats edge yet another classic". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  15. O'Flynn, Diarmuid (7 July 2014). "Old order restored as Cats back on throne". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  16. "Kilkenny and Tipp finish level in classic final". RTÉ Sport. 8 September 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  17. "Kilkenny too strong for Tipperary in All-Ireland final replay". RTÉ Sport. 27 September 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014.

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Colin Fennelly
J. J. Delaney
J. J. Delaney
J. J. Delaney
Kilkenny Senior Hurling Captain
Succeeded by
J. J. Delaney
J. J. Delaney
J. J. Delaney
Joey Holden
Preceded by
Patrick Donnellan
All-Ireland Senior Hurling Final
winning captain

Succeeded by
Joey Holden
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