Monday 22 January 2018

Treaty young gun Lynch determined to avoid second-season syndrome

Limerick's Cian Lynch. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / Sportsfile
Limerick's Cian Lynch. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / Sportsfile
Chelsea's John Terry. Photo: PA
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Cian Lynch lists off his commitments in the coming days and weeks and it's clear he's precisely the example used when people talk about 'burnout' in young GAA stars.

In five days this week he'll play with three different teams. And given his status as one of the game's brightest young talents, he'll be expected to star for all three teams. Club U-21 championship, the Fitzgibbon Cup and the Limerick seniors all have fixtures this week that Lynch is due to line out in.

It sounds exhausting even if the Patrickswell man himself is typically laid-back about it all.

"It is the same timetable for the next couple of weeks, but sure it is grand," said the Mary Immaculate student.

"It is tough enough. But I am not complaining, but people are saying that it is hard to keep it going because have to go training with senior team as well.

"But it is just the time of the year and it is my first time playing Fitzgibbon and it is full-on but it's grand.

"It is a lot to be doing," he continued. "Every game you are going to be trying to give 110pc for both the team you are playing for and yourself - and you'd be saying to yourself, it is hard to keep up that standard every day when it is only the start of February but you just have to get on with it."

He's quick to say his various managements are understanding but three top-class games in such a short period is a lot for someone who already has a lot of hurling under his belt despite his young age.

Lynch was fast-tracked to the Limerick senior set-up straight out of minor.

His first championship game last summer couldn't have gone any better as he picked up the man of the match award when he fired over three points in the win over Clare.

Off the field, his candid interviews were a breath of fresh air in a landscape of grey sound bites. Most recently he revealed how when pucking about with a friend on holidays, a curious John Terry (right) wandered over to chance his arm at the sport he had seen in London.

Terry took to the skills quickly and he was, according to Lynch, a "natural full-back".

But after his heroics against the Banner on his championship bow, Lynch could feel teams were more ready for him.

"You feel a bit more pressure on your shoulders because such and such happened the first day but you have to keep your wits about you too and not get carried away," Lynch said of his blistering debut.

"There will be good days and bad days. Just keep your head on your shoulders."

His attitude is similar when it comes to avoiding the dreaded second-season syndrome.

"Every man is the same when they go out to play. You are going to be getting belts and whatever. You just go out and keep playing. Keep the head down and play away.

"People have told me about the second season; last year is over now and just have to drive on and forget about last year.

"Whatever games you played well or badly in, it doesn't matter. Go out and you are starting from scratch again. Go out and hurl away."

Last year ended on a high. After captaining the Treaty minors to an All-Ireland final appearance in 2014, last year's U-21 side collected All-Ireland honours.

But given the county's previous experiences at the grade - they won three on bounce at the turn of the century without getting over the line in senior - Lynch reckons no one in the county will be getting carried away.

"With the U-21 success in the early 2000s, there was some real players there and not a lot of them pushed through. All we are trying to do is keep the head down, and push on again. That All-Ireland is done."

At senior level, he admits their first task will be to finally get out of Division 1B, starting with a win over Wexford at the Gaelic Grounds on Saturday night.

"It is a big ambition but it is a dog of a group, it is cut-throat enough. Clare, Wexford, Offaly, Laois and Kerry - everyone is looking at getting out and there is no easy game in it.


"Every year is a big year when you go out playing.

"We are just striving to get better again, a few more young lads have been brought in and the players, all the experienced lads, are there and everyone is working together. The league is a big thing for us."

Meanwhile, Treaty midfielder James Ryan will be sidelined for the opening rounds of the Allianz Hurling League.

According to reports, the Garryspillane man will be out of action for a month after undergoing surgery to repair cartilage damage in his knee last week.

He is expected to miss this weekend's game against Wexford and the following week's clash with Ciaran Carey's Kerry but could return for the round 3 fixture against Offaly on March 6. Ryan joins Sean Finn on the absentee list after the defender picked up a cruciate ligament tear that has ruled him out for the rest of the season.

Irish Independent

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