Rising star Lynch is staying grounded
Published 11/06/2015 | 02:30
Even before teenager Cian Lynch took the Munster championship by storm on his debut, he had already given us one of the best anecdotes of the summer.
In the build up to his first start against Clare, he recounted a story about how his mother had dropped him when his uncle Ciaran Carey lashed over his famous point to beat Clare back in 1996.
While breastfeeding the infant Lynch, she threw him in the air in celebration of the point that dethroned the then All-Ireland champions.
But, as Lynch tells it, "she forgot to catch me."
His mother didn't realise he had told the story until people starting making remarks to her at work and gradually she joined the dots.
"She rang me there one night, she was above in the courts where she works and she hadn't read any papers or anything," Lynch says.
"There were people coming up to her going: 'Jaysus Valerie how is your breast?' and all this kind of craic!
"She hadn't a clue what was going on, she thought there was something wrong with her so she kept kind of looking. She rang me anyway, she found out, the laughing we were doing, it was brilliant."
It says something of his character that he'd tell a story like that in the build-up to his first senior championship start for his county.
In Semple Stadium, Lynch played with the sort of coltish brilliance that can come with the confidence of youth. He won the man of the match award that day as he helped himself to three points from play and threw a couple of tricks in for good measure.
And yesterday he was honoured again with the GAA/GPA Opel Player of the Month award for May
He is still basking in the glow from that game where his well-heralded talent from his minor days transferred surprisingly easily to the senior stage and the Munster championship.
Lynch admits he couldn't have wished for a better introduction to the top level having been fast-tracked to the biggest stage.
"It's what you dream of - even leading up to it when the team was named I was trying to soak this in and make the most out of it," he recalled.
"The time I walked out to the pitch before the match...you are looking around like it's the Colosseum out there, like the gladiator going into the ring.
"Thank God it kind of went well but you have to keep the head down too."
It appears that he takes everything in his stride, but he admits to getting butterflies before the clash with Clare.
"You are always nervous going into the matches. Without the nerves you'd be wondering 'am I ready to play this match at all?'
"It's good to have nerves, it's good to have pressure, it gets the adrenaline running through your blood really.
"And you have the likes of Donal O'Grady, Gavin O'Mahony, Paudie O'Brien and all the senior players tapping you on the back and reassuring you because at the end of the day it's 15 men on 15.
"It's always the first ball - if you win the first ball it is that extra kick up the backside and you are after starting off well. But then if you miss the first ball you go for the next ball. Thank God I had a bit of luck on my side and it went well after that.
"It (the man of the match award) put the icing on the cake. Even after the match I was there and I saw the supporters coming on when one of the security fellas in Thurles came over to me and grabbed me and told me I was after getting the man of the match award.
"Sure I didn't believe him - I thought with man of the match you'd have to be the likes of the top guys. It was surreal.
"It's a cool enough thing to have but you have to take it with a pinch of salt - you don't want to get carried away."
Things have changed significantly for him since the Clare game. He's a more recognisable figure in Limerick and beyond now.
It would seem to be a lot for someone just out of minor but it sits easy with his character.
While he appears to be enjoying the limelight, there's a resolutely grounded streak in him.
"I'm working there in the local shop, the Spar, and young fellas come in and I'd be laughing away myself, having the usual craic and just being myself," he explains.
"Lads come in and want you to sign something and are looking up at you. You'd say to yourself 'what are they staring at?!'
"It's changed, but you wouldn't want to dwell on it, you wouldn't want to get bogged down in it because it's only one match.
"We have to keep going and look forward to the Tipp match," he adds.
"But it's great because I remember being that age and looking up to hurlers, saying to myself: 'Jeez, that's Seamus Hickey or that's Henry Shefflin', you know."