Ryan, Timothy (‘Timmie’) (1909–95), hurler, was born 7 May 1909 at Laught Cross, Ahane, Co. Limerick, son of Patrick Ryan, farmer, and May Ryan (née O'Meara). He was educated locally. Ryan was a founder member of the Ahane club (1926) and was a key figure in the rise of Ahane from a junior club to a side that won twelve senior county hurling championships in the period 1931–46, as well as five football titles in a row (1935–9). After winning a couple of county junior titles the club entered the senior county championship, winning the title every year from 1931 to 1940, with the exception of 1932. Ryan captained the side in the three victories from 1933 to 1935. In an intercounty career that lasted from 1930 to 1946, he was a key figure in what was undoubtedly Limerick's greatest-ever side, a team that won five national hurling league titles in a row (1934–8), and five Munster championships (1933–6, 1940), with Ryan as captain in 1934 and 1935. Although they reached four All-Ireland finals in a row (1933–6) and again in 1940, it is perhaps a surprise that they only won three All-Ireland titles in that time. In 1934 they beat Dublin by 5–2 to 2–6 in a replay; in 1936 they crushed their great rivals Kilkenny by 5–6 to 1–5; and in 1940 they defeated the same opposition by 3–7 to 1–9. Limerick lost the 1933 and 1935 finals, both times to Kilkenny. Ryan also captained the Limerick team that toured the US in 1936. He won five Railway Cup medals with Munster (1934–5, 1937–9), captaining the sides in 1934 and 1935, and becoming both the first Limerickman to captain a winning side, and only the second man to captain two winning teams.
Ryan was a strong, quick, cool, and clever hurler, with great reserves of stamina. Many observers considered him the complete midfield player, although his versatility and superb positional sense meant that he could also play in the right half-back and right half-forward positions. He was particularly adept at ‘doubling’ on the ball in the air. Opponents regarded him as a scrupulously fair player. He was a contender for a midfield place in the Gael Linn ‘greatest hurling team ever’ in 1971 (a team voted for by the public), losing out to Kilkenny great Lory Meagher (qv) and Galway's Michael Gill. He was perhaps unfortunate to be overshadowed during his heyday in the Limerick side by fellow Ahane greats Mick Mackey (qv) and Jackie Power (qv), with the former acknowledging as much in a comment to Michael O'Hehir (qv), describing Ryan as a ‘gentleman and a hurler that I often think never got the recognition he deserved as one of the all time greats’ (Sunday Press, 24 Aug. 1980). He moved from the Ahane area after inheriting a farm in Killoscully, Co. Tipperary, where he later became a publican. Ryan suffered from severe arthritis in his later years, spending some time in a wheelchair. He died 25 January 1995.
He married (1948) Nonie O'Meara from Killoscully; they had two sons and a daughter.