SPORT: ATHLETICS [5000m]
Rosemary Ryan was born on 8 NOV, 1975 at Bilboa, Cappamore, Co. Limerick – and she is the oldest of four girls in the family, the others being Catherine, Dymphna and Bridget, and has two older brothers, PJ and John. Her father Tom Ryan died when she was ten, and he was born and raised in Mulgrave Street, Limerick City, and moved out to Bruree, Co. Limerick in his teens before marrying and moving to Bilboa – he was employed by Limerick County Council and was a prominent member of the local fire brigade unit. Her mother Kathleen Leamy came from a farming background in Solohead, Monard, Co. Tipperary and whose uncle Con Hayes [Rosemary Ryan’s granduncle] of Lisowen, Doon, Co. Limerick was a well known athlete – he won many middle distance races at sport days, and also cross country races, running barefoot. Rosemary’s grandmother Maisy Leamy and her brother Con Hayes were first cousins to the grandfather of John ‘The Bull’ Hayes. Rosemary Ryan was educated at Bilboa National School and St. Joseph’s Convent of Mercy, Doon and went on to study sports science at University of Limerick 1996-1998. She then transferred to Boston University 1996-1998 after been offered a track scholarship, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in clinical exercise physiology, a specialized branch of kinesiology – and she minored in German. She then spent a year working and running in Boston, before doing a one year postgrad in University of Limerick on return home.
At the age of thirteen, Rosemary Ryan came to athletics through her local club Bilboa AC and also competed for her school St. Joseph’s Convent of Mercy, Doon. With her school she finished second in the Irish Schools’ Cross Country Championships on 10 MAR, 1990 in the junior girls and led her school to win the team title; other team members were Mairead Bradshaw [Glengar], Veronica Walsh [Bilboa], Mairead Murphy [Cooga], Marian Anderson [Doon], Marie Sheehy [Clonteen] and Hazel Hanly [Cappamore]. The following year she won her first major title when she won the Irish Schools’ Track & Field Championships intermediate girls 3000m in 10:15.48. At the Irish Universities athletics championships she won a total of 4 titles outdoors [1500m, 3000m, 5000m (2)] and 2 titles indoors [1500m, 3000], as well as two road relay titles and one individual cross country title. In America her best performances in the American Collegiate [NCAA] championships were a third-place finish in the 5000m, and a fifteenth-place finish in the cross country – and earned the 1997 America East Cross Country Scholar-Athlete of the Year award. On 22 SEP, 2000 Rosemary Ryan competed in the Sydney Olympic Games in the 5000m. She ran in the first of three qualifying heats and finished eight out of the sixteen runners in her heat in a time of 15:33.05. The winner of her heat was Ireland’s Sonia O’Sullivan who went on to finish second in the final three days later, and winning the silver medal.
In all, Rosemary Ryan has won 9 senior Irish national titles - 2 track titles, 4 road titles and 3 cross country titles. She won the 5000m , 10,000m , two 10k road titles [2004, 2005], two half marathon titles [1999, 2003], and in cross country after winning the inter club junior women cross country title in 1994, Rosemary has won two inter county senior women cross country titles [1999, 2003] and one inter club senior women cross country title . She competed in the World Cross Country Championships in 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006, and also took part in the European Cross Country Championships in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2008. At the 2002 World Cross Country Championships in Dublin she was part of the Irish team that won bronze medals over the short course, and was part of the Irish team at the 2003 European Cross Country Championships in Edinburgh that won silver medals. At the 2001 World Student Games in Beijing she finished fourth in the 5000m final, and also competed in the 2003 World Half Marathon Championships at Vilamoura, Portugal where she finished twenty-seventh with 1:13:45. Rosemary has won many of the main road races in Ireland, including Clonmel 4 mile [2001, 2003], Dunboyne 4 mile [2000, 2002], Rathfarnham 5k , Irish Runner Challenge 5 mile , Raheny 5 mile [2006, 2009], Sportsworld 5 mile Classic , Streets of Galway 8k [2001, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011], Bilboa 10k [2003, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2011], Newport 10k , Dundrum 10k [2003, 2006, 2008, 2011], Adare 10k [2008, 2010], Ballycotton 10 mile , Dungarvan 10 mile [2004, 2009], Omagh Half Marathon  and Cork Half Marathon [2005, 2006, 2008]. She has also won many other races and of those mentioned she still holds the course record at Clonmel [21:12], Dunboyne [20:20], Streets of Galway [26:01], Bilboa [34:12], Newport [35:36] and Dundrum [34:28]. She also won the Blackpool Half Marathon in England in 2008 – and is the only woman to win all three of Ireland’s city mini marathons, Dublin, Cork and Limerick women’s mini marathons. In December, 2010 Rosemary Ryan got married to Tom Carey, a member of Limerick AC and a former scholarship student at Iona University, USA – he won the Irish 10,000m title in 2003, and has won such road races as the Irish Runner Challenge 5 mile , Dundrum 10k [2003, 2006] and Cork Half Marathon . When younger he won the marathon at the Community Games in 1994 at Mosney, and has the distinction of being unbeaten as an athlete in Munster schools’ cross country. Some of Rosemary’s best times for road races include 33:18 for 10k , 56:48 for 10 mile , 1:13:45 for half marathon  and 2:39:31 for marathon , and Tom Carey has run 30:58 for 10k , 50:26 for 10 mile  and 1:06:40 for half marathon . They live in Castleconnell, Co. Limerick – and Rosemary works as a sports development officer with Limerick City Sports Partnership.
Next Week: Kevin Babington, Olympic show jumper from Carrick-on-Suir. ©Michael O’Dwyer
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