Cian Lynch: 'Hurling is all instinct'
By Cian O'Connell
As talk continues to swirl regarding systems and structures, Cian Lynch speaks openly about the sheer importance of instinct.
There will always be room for skill and speed in hurling: two qualities Lynch possesses in abundance.
During the past decade Limerick's underage record provides hope, and the Treatymen are anxious to claim a second Bord Gais Energy All Ireland Under 21 title in three years.
Lynch has the cut of a sportsman, who simply enjoys hurling. "I do, but there are times when you'd forget that you're meant to enjoy it and you forget the reality of life," Lynch says.
"But sure it is freedom, it is going out and even though you're going to be marking lads and up against bigger and better teams, with Galway we're well up against it, but you just open up to try to hurl, to do things that you're training to do. You know?
"You can get too serious before games, you're letting it all build up.
"Even when you go out for a match the whole world is on your shoulders and that's all self-inflicted. It's just pressure and you're forgetting that you're playing hurling because you love it. You forget that's the reason you're playing it."
That drive and desire for the game matters deeply to Lynch. "You're training morning, noon and night for this, what's the point of taking it too serious if you forget the real sight of it?
"You go out to try express yourself because hurling is all instinct. We forget and think we have to be robots at times."
How difficult is to achieve the necessary mindset to play with such freedom and abandon? "You get worked up, there's huge things at stake at senior and Under 21 level, lads put so much into it," Lynch remarks.
"That's the other side. That's where the pressure comes from. You're training or meeting with the team nearly seven days a week between analysis and all that craic.
"You're putting pressure on yourself. Sports psychologists are very important, to be able to say, 'Look, the hay's in the barn.' It's about going out, opening up and being free. If things don't go your way, they don't go your way."
Considering the strides taken by Ardscoil Ris, Mary Immaculate, LIT, UL and Limerick underage outfits there are reasons to be positive in the south west.
"You'd hope so," Lynch admits. "It's hard, it's not automatic that lads push on. "There's a lot more to life than the actual hurling, lads get jobs and they might have to move away for college or whatever. Live in the now and enjoy what we have."
Lynch is adamant that Limerick must focus on the current rather than simply waiting for senior success to arrive in the future.
"It's a lot of expectation," Lynch acknowledges. "Things didn't go our way this year at senior. We just have to keep the head down. Under 21 is the most important thing in our minds at the moment and that's what we have to look to. Saturday is the only thing we should be thinking about ahead of this week."
An All Ireland winner at this grade two years ago, Lynch is delighted to be still involved at Under 21 level. “Yeah, it's more open hurling,” Lynch states. “You can go out and you play with lads your own age and lads you grew up with. A lot of people can take hurling too seriously at times and forget that you actually have to go out to enjoy it and that you're actually playing a sport that you're supposed to love.
“There are times you'd actually forget that reality. So we've just kind of said go out and enjoy our hurling and if things go our way then they'll go our way and if they don't they don't. We always aim to win, but the performance is key.”