CLARE boss Mike McNamara last night declared Colin Lynch ‘epitomised all that is great about Clare hurling’ after it was confirmed yesterday that the long-serving midfielder had retired from the inter-county game.
Speculation had grown in recent weeks about Lynch’s Clare future due to a persistent back injury, which ultimately forced him to end his career. McNamara had hoped that Lynch could shake off the injury and feature in Clare’s championship plans this summer.
“I really had hoped his injury would heal so that he could come back. Everywhere you look in the Clare team there are new players so it would have been great to have Colin in the middle steering the team. He epitomised all that is great about Clare hurling, passion, sacrifice and commitment. He was an excellent motivator who the young players looked up to.”
Lynch’s retirement follows that of Frank Lohan last October and means Niall Gilligan and Alan Markham are the last links remaining with Clare’s great side of the 90’s. “Time takes its toll on these players and they’re definitely going to be difficult to replace. Colin was a true professional who strove for perfection. He gave some great displays and I think the best thing I ever heard about him was when Cyril Farrell said he had the best engine he’d ever seen.”
Former teammate Jamesie O’Connor also hailed Lynch’s career. “He was a fantastic servant to Clare. He was someone who Clare supporters had tremendous respect for and no one could ever question the man’s commitment. I remember meeting him back in January early one day and he was just back from a hurling session. The enthusiasm was as strong as ever and it’s amazing that he kept going for twelve years or more.
“It was obvious it was coming to this as I’d heard he was struggling with an injury. He was someone who Clare supporters had tremendous respect for. The game that stands out for me is his first Munster final against Tipperary in 1997, he was just outstanding that day. But I thought last year as well that he really rolled back the years and gave some of his greatest displays. It’s a sign of the times this week that you’ve had Joe Deane and Colin retiring, two of the greatest players of the last decade.”
Lynch burst onto the scene in 1997 when Clare captured their second All-Ireland title in three years and was a mainstay of the Clare team ever since. He won one All-Ireland title, two Munster titles and two Allstar awards in 1997 and 2002. In addition Lynch was central to his club Lissycasey’s historic first Clare SFC title in 2007.
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