Thursday 18 January 2018

Tipp roots no issue as Lynch bids to continue stunning rise

Limerick's Cian Lynch, here in action against Clare's Domhnall O'Donovan, produced a man-of-the-match performance on his Championship debut, and he’ll be a marked man this weekend
Limerick's Cian Lynch, here in action against Clare's Domhnall O'Donovan, produced a man-of-the-match performance on his Championship debut, and he’ll be a marked man this weekend
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

He might be new to the this level of action but hurling's newest star Cian Lynch knows what Limerick and Tipperary games are all about.

He looked on for the last two years as Limerick started getting the upper hand, beating the Premier county in the Championship in back-to-back campaigns.

And he remembers the 2007 trilogy of games, watching from the stands as the Treaty men came out on top after three enthralling encounters.

Back then, as now, Waterford await the winners in the Munster final, but that's looking down the road exactly one game too far.

Lynch knows what the rivalry means better than most. His father hails from Loughmore-Castleiney and he knows the McGraths and John Maher from the Tipp senior set-up.

"We even went to school for a couple of months in Castleiney, before the summer there," the teenager explains. "The father was working in Limerick and the mother was up in Dublin, so I would know a few of the Tipp lads fairly well.

"I'd say (his father) will be sitting on the fence, anyway. You wouldn't know which side he would be - I think he will be happy either way."

It's a rivalry that Tipperary have traditionally had the edge in, recording ten more wins than Limerick in their 66 Championship meetings, while there have been ten draws.

But Lynch joins the fray at a time when the Shannonsiders have had the better of things, winning the last two encounters.

Extending that to three victories is going to take a heroic effort.

"A third consecutive defeat? Stop it, they don't want that to happen. Two years in a row, they are hurt, they are going to come out trying to throw everything at us," he says.

"Sure, we'll have to throw everything back. They are going out to win and sure whatever happens, happens."

If Lynch took the element of surprise into the Clare game, that is well and truly gone now.

The Patrickswell man produced a man-of-the-match performance on his Championship debut, and he'll be a marked man this weekend.

His talent was well heralded but he has surprised many, including himself, with just how quickly he settled into Championship hurling.

"It flew, went very fast. It comes and goes, you wouldn't think it would - 70 minutes of hurling, you think it would draw or drag on," he says. "But it went by very fast - the pace is totally different to any hurling I have ever played in before.

"It is a massive step up from League to Championship, there is no comparison really. You often hear people say that, but I am only after finding it out now.

"The League is a slower pace of hurling, Championship is different.

"With the Clare game, before the ball was at your feet, you are getting a slap of a shoulder, and you feel someone behind you at all times. It's a massive step up, the physicality is totally different to minor or U-21 hurling."

And Lynch is keen to prove that his stellar display in his first start was no fluke and reward TJ Ryan's faith.

"I'm still half-thinking I'm minor. You're playing it for so long and all you're thinking is 'when is the next match?'," he explains.

"Thankfully it came quick enough. TJ gave me the opportunity, myself and Tom Morrissey, to see if we're up to it.

"If we are, we are, and if we're not, we're not. We'll try and take every chance we get."

"You have to take every ball as it comes because you only get a certain amount, it is not like a club game where you can get lucky breaks or you could be a step ahead of the lad.

"At senior inter-county hurling, it is every man for himself and you have to go 110pc for every ball and just keep going until the end."

Irish Independent

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