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big move Des Ryan leaves Arsenal's medical team for new role at Setanta College

In February 2013, he joined the Gunners and he is one of a number of ex-pats to have passed through the London club’s doors.

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Des Ryan, pictured in January 2020, in his role as Head of Sport Medicine and Athletic Development at Arsenal FC, speaking at the GAA Games Development Conference at Croke Park

Des Ryan, pictured in January 2020, in his role as Head of Sport Medicine and Athletic Development at Arsenal FC, speaking at the GAA Games Development Conference at Croke Park

Des Ryan, pictured in January 2020, in his role as Head of Sport Medicine and Athletic Development at Arsenal FC, speaking at the GAA Games Development Conference at Croke Park

Irishman Des Ryan is to leave his role as Arsenal’s Head of Academy Sports Medicine and Athletic Development after eight years to become the new Director of Coaching and Performance at Setanta College.

Writing on LinkedIn, Galwegian Ryan said: “Really looking forward to working full time with some great people who I admire and respect in Setanta College.

“I really enjoyed my time at Arsenal - it's a top club with some very special people and players, particularly the Academy, led by Per Mertesacker.

“I’m really looking forward to moving back to Ireland and seeing family and friends more often.”

Ryan was Head of Strength and Conditioning at Connacht Rugby from 1999 to 2008, before joining Ireland Rugby Union, where he was an S&C coach and fitness education manager.

In February 2013, he joined the Gunners and he is one of a number of ex-pats to have passed through the London club’s doors.

Some still remain, chiefly Dr Gary O’Driscoll, who was lured from Irish rugby by Arsene Wenger in 2009 just as Declan Kidney was launching his Grand Slam campaign.

O’Driscoll’s renown as their head of Medical Services led to an audacious transfer swoop by Liverpool in 2020 but the two-time British & Irish Lions doctor – and cousin of Grand Slam Winner Brian – rejected the offer.

Former Ireland rugby internationals Johnny O'Connor and Jerry Flannery spent time at Colney Training Centre in the strength and conditioning department.

Cairbre Ó Cairealláin was with the Arsenal Academy and Ladies' side before the Belfast man returned home to resume his influential roles with the GAA; he was once with the Limerick Academy, while he was key to the Tipp hurlers' renaissance in 2019.

Barry Solan remains first-team S&C coach at Arsenal. Paudie Roche, one of the main architects of Ireland's fitness regime ahead of the Rugby World Cup before moving on to the U-20s, has been at Arsenal for nine years as lead S&C coach for the U-18 and U-23 sides.

Setanta College is an online college specialising in the delivery of strength and conditioning studies.

The college posted: "Des is one of the leading youth coaches and performance managers in sport and a world-renowned practitioner and speaker in the field of youth athletic development.

"In joining Setanta College, Des will help us to continue providing the highest level of education to our students."

Setanta College, founded by the renowned Dr Liam Hennessy, is Ireland’s leading online sports college.

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