When we experience major moments in our lives, our first thoughts are often with our parents, family and everyone else who made it happen. That was certainly the case for Cian Lynch when the final whistle went on August 19th, signaling a first All-Ireland win for Limerick in 45 years.
Luckily for him, amidst all the craziness, the noise, and the overwhelming emotions, his mother appeared and the ensuing embrace was captured in what was probably, one of the GAA photos of the year.
“It’s crazy. It all happens so fast. Even when the whistle goes, I couldn’t even get my breath. She grabbed me and I grabbed her and it was just that moment of safety. Your parents are always that safeguard, your mother, father or any family member. To see my mother there on the middle of the pitch, she was there in the 90s with her brother when he was playing with Limerick and to be there for me was lovely. It brings it back.”
“People forget that without families a lot of this wouldn’t be possible – the washing of the gear, cooking of food or lifts to training from underage. Without the parents, a lot of us wouldn’t be here.”
Thus began the joyous celebrations for Limerick and while the focus has switched to the club championship, the Liam MacCarthy is still being paraded around the various clubs and schools around the county in the hope of inspiring another generation of All-Ireland winners. However, the County Board put a ban on the Liam MacCarthy entering a pub and it’s a move the players have fully backed. Not that it’s likely to bother Lynch, as the Patrickswell man is a professed non-drinker.
“I never got into the whole thing. When I was 15/16 and other lads were testing it, I would have been playing soccer or hurling…I’d have been hitting the ball off the wall and I wouldn’t find a reason to go have a drink…I’d always go for a puck, and meet the lads down the road and hit a few balls. It’s what you’re introduced to or what you choose.”
“It was my own choice, nobody ever told me not to drink, I just never got into it, it could have been a different story if I got into it, it’s just different paths in life.”
Limerick have a very young side with many of the team that won the U21 All-Ireland championship in 2017 involved. You would be forgiven for thinking that a group that have achieved such a feat at such a young age might let the occasion go to their heads or become overwhelmed by the sudden attention. But it doesn’t seem like this will be a problem for Limerick. There were questions throughout the championship of their inexperience, all of which they answered emphatically. Their behaviour since winning the All-Ireland has only enforced the belief that they are a level-headed, collected and calm panel.
Much of the credit goes to John Kiely, who Lynch referred to as a “father figure”, but such a mentality must be self-driven as well. For the 22-year-old, the grounding comes as a result of his faith and religion, another gift from his parents and it is something he is not shy in discussing.
“It goes back to family again. There are six of us in my family, my father and mother brought us to mass every Sunday. If it was a feast day, we’d be in mass to celebrate it or we might say a few prayers. For me, it’s a bit of a structure in my life.”
“When you’re on massive highs from winning or when you’re on a massive low, I say a few prayers or go to mass and it kind of brings me to level ground. I suppose it makes me prepared for the highs and lows that come with the game and mentally I think it’s great to be able to offload and that safeguard too. It comes back to family, going to mass from an early age and having structures in place.”
“In all walks of life, when you’re going from massive highs – like this year, huge highs of winning an All-Ireland, then you come back to the club, you might lose – you’re back down to a low then. It’s just how you deal with that. For me, it’s that community spirit, going to mass. You’re inside in the church, it’s a bit of a grounding.”
Cian Lynch could be named Hurler of the Year on November 2nd but it’s safe to say the award is far from his mind at the moment. With the support of his family, his grounding in religion and his dedication to the jersey, it’s evident that Lynch won’t be changing his mentality, regardless of the result.
Bord Bia has partnered with food blogger and fitness instructor, Roz Purcell, Limerick All-Ireland Winning Hurler, Cian Lynch, and World Cup Women’s Hockey Silver Medalist, Nikki Evans, to celebrate World Egg Day as part of the Quality Assured Eggs Campaign. World Egg Day takes place this Friday, 12th October and Bord Bia is on a mission to inspire the nation to #CrackOn and try some new delicious egg recipes. Check out www.bordbia.ie/qualityeggs for inspiration.