Ryan Houlihan : biography
Ryan Houlihan (born 21 January 1982) is an Australian rules footballer who played 12 seasons and 201 games for the Carlton Football Club in the Australian Football League from 2000 to 2011.
After playing just one more senior game, Houlihan announced his retirement from AFL football at the end of the 2011 season- his 12th- to finish up with 201 games at 29 years of age. Injuries had caused him to miss 41 games.
Houlihan worked very hard during the 2006 pre-season, becoming a lot bigger, stronger and fitter, so he could play in the midfield. He played all 22 games in 2006, improving to become second at the club for kicks and disposals, highlighted by a career best 35 disposals in Round 4. In the second half of the year Houlihan was given run with roles on some of the best players in the AFL, such as Jason Akermanis, who he kept to just 9 possessions, Darren Milburn to 2 kicks and Nathan Eagleton to 11 possessions. A vigorous which left West Coast Eagle Matt Rosa with concussion almost earned Houlihan his first and only suspension but it was deemed . Overall, Houlihan increased his average possessions to 21 per game- statistically the best season of his career, ranking in the top few not only in uncontested possessions and handball-receives but also in hardball-gets and contested possessions, highlighting that he can win the ball as an inside or outside player.
AFL Debut 2000
Houlihan made his debut for the Carlton Football Club around the middle of the 2000 season. The Carlton team of 2000 was a particularly strong one, with many great names such as Craig Bradley, Stephen Silvagni and Anthony Koutoufides and finished second at the end of the home and away season. Houlihan quickly had an impact for Carlton as a classy, skilful, running forward, with an uncanny ability to kick goals. For a skinny 18 year old, pick #73, then weighing just 71 kg to break into that side and play every game from Round 17, including all three finals was an excellent accomplishment, exceeding expectations. Houlihan ended up played 13 games in his debut season and was nominated for the AFL Rising Star award after a 20 possession game in the Round 20 blockbuster against Essendon before over 90,000 people. Houlihan also received the Carlton Past Players Encouragement Award for his debut season.
Houlihan was appointed coach of Greater Western Sydney Football Club's 'Academy' players for 2012 and also joined the Sydney Hills Eagles in their debut season in the North East Australian Football League Eastern Conference as a player and assistant coach. He also fulfilled a coaching role with the Under-16 and Under-18 NSW/ACT RAMS.
Houlihan was named in the NEAFL Eastern Conference Team of the Year for 2012.http://neafl.com.au/index.php?id=16&tx_ttnews%5Byear%5D=2012&tx_ttnews%5Bmonth%5D=09&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=1068&cHash=713f296770735969d0ac64bdd0e61789
Houlihan also played a once-off match for Waratah in the 2011/12 Northern Territory Football League season.
Houlihan these days kicks an occasional footy for VAFA Amateur outfit St Bernard’s Old Collegians.
Ryan is the third of four brothers who were all drafted to AFL clubs: Damian Houlihan, Adam Houlihan and Josh Houlihan, from Wahgunyah on the Murray River, in northern Victoria. He has been by far the most successful of the four. An uncle, Paul O'Donoghue also played for North Melbourne in 1976. Prior to being recruited by Carlton, at pick #73 in the 1999 AFL Draft, Houlihan played as a junior for Corowa-Rutherglen and for the Murray Bushrangers under 18 team. He was named All Australian Under 16 in 1998 and represented Australia in the 1999 youth series against Ireland. Houlihan was named in the Murray Bushrangers' best team of all time (1993-2012).
In 2007 Houlihan played 21 of 22 games (missing one game with illness) and recorded his best ever finish in the Club's Best and Fairest- fourth. He continued to perform run with roles in all parts of the ground on some of the AFL's best players, such as Gary Ablett Jr, James Hird, Alan Didak, who he kept to a season low 10 possessions, Andrew McLeod, who he kept to just 14 possessions, Aaron Davey to a season low 4 possessions, Tadhg Kennelly to 6 and Josh Drummond to 12. He also played some high possession, more offensive games, highlighted by a season best 33 possessions in Round 20 against Essendon and despite a number of defensive roles, still finished second at the club for kicks and third for possessions. Houlihan had not kicked a lot of goals since being moved to defense but kicked for the first time in a game since 2003 in Round 11 against Port Adelaide. During that year, at just 25 years of age, Houlihan already achieved his , becoming the third youngest Carlton player to reach that milestone, having been a regular member of Carlton teams since the age of 18 and to that point had rarely missed games due to injury.
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