At times you forget you play hurling to enjoy it, admits Cian Lynch

Cian Lynch wouldn’t regard himself as a social media influencer, but he has the Midas touch when it comes to grabbing people’s attention on it. 

There were his exquisite freestyle hurling skills that captured people’s attention on YouTube in 2013 and this year he was attracting hits again on the video-sharing platform, acting as a farmer advertising a mock dating app, ‘Hay There’, which had the tag-line: “Helping Ewe Find Your Udder Half.”

“It was actually a college assignment. A few girls I know in media [studies] asked me in as a prop. I ended up being dressed as a farmer. It was grand, but a bit annoying to see it going around the place. It was grand for them, but it was only a college assignment.”

It gained currency the week before the meeting with Tipperary, but Lynch wasn’t distracted. The freedom to do such things would appeal to his easy-going nature, but for some time his hurling impacted on the Mary Immaculate College student’s attitude.

“I finished college there two weeks ago. I’m looking for work now, to go into something, as I didn’t apply for a masters.

“I’ve been able to relax, hurl and then actually go out and have the craic with the lads without taking that to a wicked level.”

“This year, whatever it is, I’ve balanced both of them and have a life outside of hurling. When you go out and wear the blinkers, you’re actually forgetting that you’ve a life to live outside of hurling. There were times there and I know a lot of lads were saying the same, you actually forget that you play hurling because you enjoy it. 

“It gets so serious at times that you forget that you have friends who aren’t playing hurling who you want to meet and stay in touch with, because you could forget lads you grew up with. You get so consumed you forget their lives don’t revolve around hurling and, when it’s over, you have to have something to be able to keep you going.”

That tunnel vision may have something to do with the onus on Limerick’s underage All-Ireland winners, such as Lynch, to translate their success at U21 level to senior. Now in his fourth senior season, the Patrickswell man knows it’s easier said than done, based on Limerick’s previous great underage era.

“You’d hope that would be the natural process, but it’s not always as straight as that. Back in the 2000s, we’d good U21s, but never really pushed on to winning at senior level. I know we’d a great win last week, but things are very open still and we’ve to play a great Cork team, a Waterford team and a Clare team. We’re hoping we can keep it up and keep the confidence going.

“The big aim is to try and win something, but it doesn’t happen overnight, either. You’ve to keep that constant flow and constant belief that you are as good as other teams out there. It’s not enough to stand back and admire teams; it’s about looking up and competing and playing to your best.

“There is a belief. If you don’t believe in yourself and your team you’re not going anywhere. We’ve 100% belief in ourselves and the management team. That’s what it’s about: Enjoying your hurling.”

Reaction-wise, the significance of beating Tipp last Sunday week was diminished by the fallout for the vanquished, but that suits Limerick down to the ground if it means their feet are kept there. “It gives us a small piece of belief that’s maybe been lacking in the last few years,” he said of the result.

“A lot of times we’ve got carried away by wins. We need to move away from that and focus on every week, which is important in the new championship. You’re playing Cork on a Saturday and then Waterford and Clare. There’s no point dwelling on the games that are past,” said Lynch.

Cork will be mindful of his clubmate Aaron Gillane.

“The last few years we’ve seen it in the U21s and with Mary I in the Fitzgibbon and even the other day, every chance he gets, he’s dangerous and he has a touch and a sidestep that when he gets it into his hand, he’s gone.

“It’s his first senior championship, starting, so to get off to a good start the way he did was key. I’ve played with him long enough — we’re the same age and played on a lot of the same teams. I know a lot of lads hadn’t seen him properly until this year but we know what he’s capable of but it’s a question of keeping that going and as I said it’s team-based.”


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