Family pride the spur for Limerick rookie Lynch
Cian Lynch has dreamed all his life of wearing the Limerick jersey in Championship hurling.
The ambition was bred into him by the extended Carey family, particularly his uncles Ciaran and Pa Carey, who handed down the tradition of representing the Treaty County.
Already the Patrickswell teenager has taken major steps forward by captaining the Limerick minors to a Munster minor title and is eligible for another few years at U-21 grade.
This season the multi-talented sportsman, who attracted the interest of cross-channel soccer clubs, has stepped up a level in playing with the seniors in the Waterford Crystal Cup and League.
"At the start, during the League, it was hard. I was saying to myself, 'am I up to this at all? Am I cut out for it?" said Lynch.
"But you keep going and try to dig deep and give 110pc. If it's not good enough, it's not good enough, but if it is, you keep going."
Sunday is the big one - a Munster Championship collision with Davy Fitzgerald's Clare.
If he gets the call for duty, Lynch will glow with pride but he knows that the pitch at Semple Stadium in Thurles is no place for daydreaming.
The 19-year-old former Ard Scoil Ris Dr Harty Cup-winning skipper appreciates the rise in standard from underage hurling.
"The big difference I found at senior level is physicality and speed. With the minors, you get the ball and you've time to look around, whereas in senior if you turn left or right, you'll be getting a slap," he explained.
"You have to be much quicker on the ball and aware of your surroundings.
"I haven't played senior Championship, but the older lads say Championship's a totally different game."
Born in 1996, Lynch was raised on watching his uncles performing for Limerick and for the club, but he certainly has no memory of the Championship that year which ended with the Treaty team losing the final to Wexford.
His mother, however, does recall Limerick v Clare that summer.
"The mother always tells a story that when Ciaran (Carey) got a point against Clare to win the match, she had me in her arms, and she threw me up in the air, and nearly forgot to catch me on the way down," he recalled.
"I don't remember that, obviously, but that's what she tells me.
"Growing up I was always watching the uncles play, whether it was with the club or the county, and aspiring to wear the green jersey. Thankfully I've got the opportunity."