Underage hurling came too easy for Limerick's Lynch

Underage glory came too easy for Limerick starlet Lynch

Ronan Lynch has admitted that he found hurling easy as an underage player and that he struggled mentally with the dip in form that followed.

The Na Piarsaigh man appeared in All-Ireland minor, U21 and senior club finals before he was 20, winning the latter two, and was tipped for big things with Limerick.

He won a second All-Ireland U21 medal in 2017 but subsequently failed to nail down a senior spot with Limerick and was cut from this year’s Championship panel.

The versatile half-back spent the summer in San Francisco instead and hurled with the local Tipperary club, a mental break he says he badly needed.

“A small bit of my problem was being talented at underage, it came a little bit easy to me,” said Lynch at the draws for the 2019 Electric Ireland GAA Higher Education championships.

Performing so well at minor and U21 level, I found that when things started to go wrong, or when I had a bit of a dip in form, I found it hard. You’re kind of thinking, ‘Ah, it’ll be grand, I’ll come back again’.

"But when you realise the amount of work that has to go into it to get to a consistent level of performance, that reality can be hard.

“It was tough, it was very tough to deal with, mentally let’s say, coming through and having a bit of a reputation, people expecting you to do so well and to go straight into the senior team.

"Then for things not to go right for you and suddenly not to be going well, you can even see it in the club, people know the potential you have and they kind of get frustrated for you when things aren’t going right for you.

“It can kind of have a snowball effect then. For me, it was just disappointment and sadness that I wasn’t reaching the expectations that people had of me and it’s very hard to change that mentality around then, to get back up and to get your confidence going again.

“The break away to America, I just needed a break for my head space, just to get away from thinking that I’m not reaching the levels I can be at and that other people are getting frustrated with that.

“It was just to go and get away from that head space and to go and enjoy my hurling in America and to see different things and to meet new people.

"It gave me a huge boost and I came back feeling refreshed, just to have that weight off your shoulders almost.”

Lynch, who made his full debut for Limerick in the 2016 league quarter-final win over Dublin at Parnell Park, hasn’t been contacted yet about playing for Limerick in 2019.

The UL student says he isn’t bitter about being cut from this year’s panel just months before their first All-Ireland win in 45 years.

“Look, no-one likes to be dropped off a panel and in your own mind everyone thinks they could be in there and contributing but at the same time, looking back, John has gone on to win an All-Ireland with Limerick, he has done an awful lot of things really well this year and if I wasn’t good enough to be starting on the team and I didn’t put myself in the position where John couldn’t not start me, then if you are dropped off the panel you can’t have any complaints,” said Lynch.

“I don’t harbour any bad feeling or I don’t think he made the wrong decision or anything like that.

"Obviously, you’d be stupid if you weren’t disappointed to be cut off the panel but it’s about how you react to that and how you learn from your time in there and how you bounce back and get better. That’s my focus now.”

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