Teen sensation Lynch can handle pressure of 'ruthless' clash - Ryan
Limerick manager TJ Ryan is backing teenage star Cian Lynch to cope with the growing hype surrounding his explosive impact as a senior inter-county hurler.
Lynch, 19, was drafted into the Shannonside senior squad after winning two Munster medals with the county's minors in 2013 and 2014. And he marked his senior championship bow with three points and a man-of-the-match performance against Clare in the Munster quarter-final.
Ryan suspects that Lynch might find a future home at midfield, where he impressed as a minor, but he's pleased with the X-factor that the Patrickswell dynamo brings to the Limerick attack. And the Treaty supremo has no doubts about Lynch's ability to deal with the spotlight that will inevitably fall on him during Sunday's Gaelic Grounds clash with Tipperary.
Lynch is a nephew of former Limerick senior stars Ciarán and Pa Carey, and Ryan said: "He comes from good stock and that's a big help in GAA circles.
"He's a very grounded lad, of course you have conversations with him but he comes from a good family and a good home.
"In a strange kind of way, with his uncles and what they did, there will be a certain amount that would say, that's what we expect him to do."
While naturally attempting to shield Lynch from any unnecessary attention, Ryan is also conscious of letting the player operate with the kind of 'freestyle' freedom that is a hallmark of his game.
Ryan added: "You can't (put the shackles on), he's a creator. We're delighted to have him, lucky to have him and I'd like to think that it'll be better he'll get."
Lynch's uncle Ciarán Carey operated in attack during his formative years, before becoming one of the finest centre-backs of his generation. And Ryan believes that Lynch will occupy a deeper role in the years to come.
He said: "That remains to be seen. I looked at him in the minor games at midfield and it looks like he's very much at home there.
"You'd probably say that midfield might be his place in time but that little bit of instinct and creativity is hard to find in players and he seems to have that.
"Using him as inside forward might on a given day give you an edge. It's hard to coach that. I just think that on the pitch, he has the movements and is able to get himself out of trouble very quickly.
"His speed of hand and body to me are very similar to Ciarán.
"He's had one good game, there's a long way to go. This is tough, it's ruthless and we'll try to mind him as best we can."
Hailing from Garryspillane in south-east Limerick, close to the border with Tipperary, Ryan admits that championship clashes with the Premier County mean that little bit extra to him.
On Sunday, he takes charge of a team looking to achieve a third championship victory in as many years against Tipp. That feat, if they achieve it, would emulate the Kilkenny teams of 2011-2013.
Ryan admits that the fierce rivalry will add extra spice to the Gaelic Grounds showdown. But he is cognisant of the fact that Tipp are now the hunters, even though the visitors have been installed as favourites with the bookies.
He said: "The reality is they're a very good side. We know that. Right now this minute, they're favourites to win the All-Ireland in 2015. They have a very strong squad, we know what they're capable of but at the same time, we know what we're capable of too.
"I believe we will improve from the last day. I think we're ready to have a right good go at this."