Diarmaid Byrnes remains eager to deliver for Patrickswell
By Cian O’Connell
A lively AIB Munster Club Senior Hurling Championship Semi-Final between Ballygunner and Patrickswell beckons at Walsh Park on Sunday.
Diarmaid Byrnes, the splendid Patrickswell star, is completely aware of the deep tradition the Limerick standard bearers carry into this eagerly anticipated encounter.
A winning culture exists in Patrickswell. “There is, when you walk into the club house, to the left, there’s now 20 pictures of club champions on the wall,” Byrnes remarks.
“We’ve four Munster clubs, there’s two occasions there where they got to the All-Ireland club [final]. As you said, there is a history there.
“For myself involved in an inter-county team and the lads that are, and the club lads that are there, we all want to make our own bit of history, in our own jersey, with our own team. What’s done in the past is done.
“I’ve two county titles now and I want to add to that, same as the players beside me. You just want to leave your own mark on it. The pictures on the wall are from the past.
“Of the 20, I’m only involved in two, the other 18 are in the past, they are history. You want to be filling more gaps on that wall now. Make a piece of history and leave your mark on the club.”
That is precisely what a talented Patrickswell crop including Byrnes, Cian Lynch, and Aaron Gillane are continuing to do.
“When you’re watching sport for a long time now, it will count for nothing on the day,” Byrnes says about Patrickswell’s star performers.
“You need things to go your way. We have that bit of experience, we have a lot more than just the three of us. There’s a lot of experience there.
“In club hurling, there’s a lot of lads there that have played county, inter-county championship and National League. So a lot of lads there, and a good few younger lads coming through, so a lot of experience there. So hopefully we can make it count for us on Sunday.”
Patrickswell manager Ciaran Carey is a key figure in the club according to Byrnes. “He’s a gas man in the dressing room and a gas man around the place,” Byrnes laughs.
“Always level-headed, always cool. But on a one-to-one basis, he’s brilliant for the players. He knows everyone individually, he knows their strengths, their weaknesses, working with players, trying to get the best out of them. He knows that as well.”
Byrnes was adamant that Cian Lynch’s display in the Limerick decider against Na Piarsaigh illustrated the 2018 Hurler of the Year’s sheer class.
“He has been super this year,” Byrnes responds. “I've seen him put on some great shows in the green jersey and the blue and yellow jersey for Patrickswell, I've played alongside him since I was Under 10, Under 12 the whole way up along.
“We'd just stand back and watch his flicks or whatever he's doing, it's brilliant. But I'd say in an overall performance it was probably his best 60 minutes of hurling in no matter what jersey he's playing, the last day in the Gaelic Grounds in the county final.
“The role kind of suits him, as captain. He's been brilliant for us to be honest. Even speaking in the huddle and stuff like that, he knows what will hit the nail on the head.
“If someone's not carrying their weight he knows how to deal with it, he wouldn't be one for effing and blinding and getting you going, but he knows how to get the boat rolling.”