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“Great teams learn”- Cian Lynch reflects on All-Ireland semi-final defeat

With the All-Ireland final less than a week a day, many Limerick fans will be wondering what could have been after Limerick’s one-point semi-final loss to Kilkenny a fortnight ago.

Cian Lynch was on Newstalk’s Off The Ball AM, reflecting on that loss to Kilkenny in Croke Park.

GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final, Croke Park, Dublin 27/7/2019 Limerick vs Kilkenny Limerick’s Cian Lynch dejected after the game Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Oisin Keniry

The Patrickswell man looks back on that game as a missed opportunity and laments the fact that they were unable to take the lead at any stage during the game after Kilkenny blitzed Kiely’s side in the opening fifteen minutes.

“We never got back to draw or lead the game. That’s something annoying us and that’s still stuck in the mind.

Kilkenny kept pushing and kept going. Great credit to them and massive character shown that they didn’t slip.”

Although Limerick allowed Kilkenny open up an eight point lead within the opening fifteen minutes, Lynch is adamant that they didn’t underestimate Kilkenny.

“We’ve massive respect for Kilkenny. Even below in Thurles last year they’re was only a couple of points in it. Towards the end they lead but we got back on top. It’s always tight margins

It just shows what Cody has done for them. They keep going and keep fighting and they’re back in an All-Ireland final which is great credit to them.”

“We were under no illusions with Kilkenny. They always bring that intensity and the hurlers they have too. It just took us a while to get going, to try and get to grips with the game. We never got our flow and never got our full range but Kilkenny had a massive work rate and never allowed us to play.”

After experiencing the high of being crowned All-Ireland champions twelve months ago, this Winter will provide the Limerick players with a new experience.

Munster GAA Senior Hurling Championship Final, LIT Gaelic Grounds, Limerick 30/6/2019 Tipperary vs Limerick Limerick’s Cian Lynch celebrates at the final whistle Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

For the reigning Hurler of the Year, the regret will linger on throughout the coming months. Yet, he is determined to learn from the loss and push on for next year with Limerick defending Munster and League Champions.

“I suppose, personally. It’s a regret that we will live with over the next few months and few years that we didn’t get over the line and drive on, but that’s sport and something you have to take in life.”

It’s been a great year, 2018 leading into this year, with the league and Munster but I suppose with our own expectations, we would have loved to have driven on and reached an All-Ireland final.

Great teams learn. You learn more form games you lose than games you win so for us it’s about bouncing back.

But no one knows what tomorrow will bring so we will have to cherish the moemnts we’ve had and prepare for the future.”

Tipperary and Kilkenny meet this Sunday in the All-Ireland with Cody and Sheedy preparing to do battle on the biggest stage of all for the first time since 2010.

With the game having evolved so much in the last decade, Lynch was asked about this evolution.

Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Semi-Final, Nowlan Park, Co. Kilkenny 24/3/2019 Dublin vs Limerick Limerick’s Cian Lynch celebrates scoring a point Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

“As you get more mature you have to make decisions. The way hurling is gone, lads are bigger, stronger, faster  so you do have to evolve and make decisions on the spot and go with your instinct.

If a ball is on inside you give it, but if you can carry the ball and draw the man and pop it out, that’s the best option.”

Last Sunday, Dublin reached their fifth successive All-Ireland Football final as they go in search of an unprecedented five-in-a-row.

One of the key talking points to emerge from the game was the conditioning of the Dublin players who performed at such a high level throughout the seventy minutes.

This does not come without huge commitment as Lynch acknowledges.

 “It’s gone so full-time now, lads sacrifice everything.”

“You’re getting up on Monday morning, finish up work at 5pm and you’re straight to the gym for 5:30pm for an hour-and-a-half session there.

“You’ll do the gym twice a week maybe, and training probably three times on top of that.”

“Everyone tries to better themselves as an athlete, whether it is extra gym work or hurling drills.

“The gym is massive though the way things have gone.”

One Dublin player that was singled out was Con O’Callaghan who has grown substantially since he first entered the Dublin team in 2017.

Lynch spoke about the importance of the gym in today’s game and his own journey in the weights room.

“Looking at Con O’Callaghan there the way he’s developed over the past couple of years, he’s massive.”

“The performances have shown as well as a result.

“Like, when I came in onto the Limerick team at 18, I think I was about 73 or 74kg.

“If you’re only 74kg now at 18, you’re very light. So I made a decision myself, and with Joe O’Connor, our strength and conditioning coach, I was given a programme to help me fill up a bit.

“I do enjoy the gym, and it is a great way to clear the head and mind.”

Cian Lynch was speaking on Off the Ball with the video below courtesy of their YouTube channel.

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