From footballer to cyclist and triathlete: One Irishman's journey from Leeds United to another dimension

Marcus Maher speaks to Bryan McCrystal for Team 33

Bryan McCrystal, Leeds

Bryan McCrystal with Leeds in 1999. Picture by: Steve Mitchell / EMPICS Sport

It’s hard enough to imagine fulfilling a dream in one sport, but try doing it in three sports.

Bryan McCrystal won't just be competing in triathlon at the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii this October.

He is also a professional cyclist riding on the roads of Ireland. But at one time he was even as a professional footballer at one of England’s most prestigious clubs, Leeds United.

McCrystal is no ordinary athlete because in such a short time he has combined all three into his hectic and incredible journey. Still only 34, Bryan comes across as man who has lived many lives and has seen many things.

He was there when Leeds United had experienced a second coming of sorts. Not since the days of John Giles, Billy Bremner and Norman Hunter, had Leeds reached the big time.

However, Bryan’s time would coincide with personal setbacks as injuries and bad luck mirrored a dramatic downturn in Leeds fortunes within a very short period of time. Suddenly the dream was turned upside down.

But he has built a career in other disciplines.

Words and interview by Marcus Maher

Listen to the full interview on the podcast player or on iTunes:


Bryan McCrystal at Leeds in July 1999. Picture by: Steve Mitchell / EMPICS Sport

Irish County rider, Bryan McCrystal pictured at the launch of the 2016 An Post Rás which will begin on Sunday May 22nd, at Dublin Castle and finish on Sunday May 29th, in Multyfarnham, Co, Westmeath. ©INPHO/Billy Stickland