Ireland’s leading lifter to take on world in Malta

by Dave Donnelly
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A Monkstown weightlifter is intent upon putting powerlifting on the map as a competitive sport in Ireland by hook or by crook.

22-year-old Ryan Daly has only been involved in powerlifting for two years after 13 years as a boxer, but already he’s the holder of multiple national records in squats and deadlifting.

He will travel to Malta next month on his own expense to defend his world junior titles, where he’ll come up against full-time professionals, as is the norm outside of Ireland.

For now, however, the confident Dubliner is funding the entire enterprise as a ‘hobby,’ with a full-time job in his local Easons compensating for the lack of prize money in the growing sport.

The end-goal for Daly is to be able to pursue powerlifting as a professional through sponsorships and endorsements, but for now he has to be content with the sport’s low profile in Ireland.

“You don’t hear of powerlifting,” Daly told the Dublin Gazette. “It’s completely different to your standard sports like boxing or GAA or football. It’s interesting. I can hopefully make it more known.

“I don’t want to do what I’m doing now [working full-time]. I want to be fully committed to powerlifting.

“There’s a lot of sponsorships in powerlifting, but unfortunately there’s not a lot of sponsorship in Ireland, which is what I want to bring over here.”

He currently does get support from Dempsey & Byrne Butchers in Dun Laoghaire who help oragnise his protein requirements and have named one of their deals after Daly.

But Daly feels there should be further scope for support.

“I want to make it be a profession and inspire other people to see what I’m doing. I’ve a couple of thousand followers on my Instagram and hopefully progressing.”

Daly competes under the Irish Drug-Free Powerlifting Federation – his only drug, he admits, is food – in a sport riddled with steroid and other drug abuse.

For Daly, who recently made the massive drop from 100kg to 82.5kg and picked up three new national records, the natural route is a no-brainer and one he can use to inspire others.

“There is that element of drug abuse in powerlifting, but obviously not in my federation. I don’t see a reason to [take drugs].

“I go to sleep thinking about it. I wake up thinking about things involving powerlifting. It is quite addictive.

“I suppose the biggest drug for me is eating food – that’s where I get my strength from. The lads down the butchers really help. I don’t believe in using any steroids – I don’t need it.

“I can do this as naturally as I can, and I have been. I’ve been breaking records.

“I’ve been getting stronger as I’ve lost weight. So I don’t see a need for it. Why cheat yourself?”

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