Wednesday 21 February 2018

Lynskey will have his troops fired up to scupper Tipp double

Minor final focus: Galway v Tipperary, 1.15

Jeffrey Lynskey is hoping to continue the success of the Mattie Murphy era
Jeffrey Lynskey is hoping to continue the success of the Mattie Murphy era

Damian Lawlor

Today’s All-Ireland minor hurling final is notable for many reasons, none more so than the amount of dual players Tipperary field and the legacy that Jeffrey Lynskey is hoping to continue in the post-Mattie Murphy era.

Murphy ran a veritable one-man hurling academy in the west, delivering six of Galway’s nine All-Ireland minor titles in 1992, ’94, 2004, ’05, ’09 and ’11.

After stepping aside he was replaced by Lynskey this year but the good work continues apace in his absence.

Liam Mellows man Lynskey was one of Galway’s most committed underage hurlers and but for his struggles with injury could have played a more prominent role, but the county has certainly benefited since he focused solely on management.

He had featured in a stack of Galway senior panels for years, playing for five different managers without ever breaking through in the manner he would have wished. And so having served as player-manager with his club, he began working with the Mellows under 14s, 15s and 16s and then took teams at minor, under 21 and senior level before moving on to the inter-county scene.

“I started with this current crop, the 18-year-olds, at 16,” he said. “I’ve had them through 16, 17 and now 18 so this year I had a good idea of who was good enough or ready for the step-up, and what I had to do was bring two coaches who were with the under 16s last year so they would have known all the under 17 players in the county. We wasted very little time in formulating the panel and we started strength and conditioning training back in February, and between under 21 club hurling and schools competitions in Galway, there is very little else you can do with them because they are playing enough hurling as it is. You don’t really get much of an opportunity to really go at it until after the Leaving Cert and then you have five weeks of a window.”

Lynskey knows Galway’s emerging talent inside out, having represented his club, colleges and county over two decades as well as teaching at Galway Community College, where he is currently based. He is primed to deliver another title for the Tribesmen but to get across the line his young team will have to topple a battle-hardened Tipp side who are on the brink of a rare All-Ireland minor hurling and football double. Last weekend’s narrow football win over Kildare, allied to their 2-17 to 1-15 victory against Dublin in the hurling semi-final a fortnight ago, means that eight players are on course for a prized double.

This is an exceptional feat. In 2000 Cork contested both All-Ireland minor finals but their hurlers lost to Galway before the footballers beat Mayo. The Rebels, however, have achieved the All-Ireland minor double twice — in 1969 and 1974. Dublin have been there too, in 1945 and 1954 and Tipp themselves were minor champions in both codes in 1934.

The eight Tipp players on the verge of making history are Jack Skehan, Emmett Moloney, Tommy Nolan, Alan Tynan, Ross Peters, Brian McGrath, Michael Connors and Stephen Quirke.

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