The 33-cap Irish international midfielder grew up within a stone’s throw of C of I’s grounds at Garryduff, but has largely plied his trade up north since moving to Belfast for college seven seasons ago, aside from stints on the continent with Racing Brussels and Germany’s Krefeld.
Lynch has faced C of I numerous times in Garvey colours, as well as lining out for Ulster against Munster at interpro level, and will again be gunning for his former team-mates.
C of I have again been dominant in Munster this term and are yet to lose in the province, notching their first trophy of the season when winning 4-1 against Bandon in the St Stephen’s Day Peard Cup decider.
That is in stark contrast to their Irish League form, which has seen them defeated heavily by Banbridge and Three Rock before giving up a two-goal lead to lose to Railway Union.
Domestically, Cork Harlequins’ meeting with UCC carries the most intrigue with defeat likely to all but end any lingering title hopes either side may harbour.
College could welcome back goalkeeper Brian Corcoran from suspension and will also be hoping Ireland U21 panellist Gary Wilkinson is over his recent injury woes. Quins may again have former Irish international midfielder Mark Black back in harness after he made his first appearance in 18 months before Christmas.
The new men’s Division 1B — featuring three sides dropping from Division 1 and three coming up from Division 2 — gets underway with Catholic Institute hosting Quins B while Limerick meet the season’s surprise package Galway, who have lost just once since moving up from the lower ranks. Ashton host a Cork C of I B team who bulldozed all in Division 2, averaging seven goals a game.
The women’s Munster Senior Cup kicks off with two first round ties. Catholic Institute start as favourites to overcome a Bandon outfit who have lots of firepower on paper but have yet to reach their potential this term, while Ashton will be confident of repeating their 3-0 league success over a Fermoy side still seeking a first win of the campaign.
It’s also cup time in Division 1B, home wins expected in both games. Blackrock, seeking a new coach after Conor O’Kelly’s work commitments saw him forced to depart, host Bruff while Tipperary meet Dungarvan.