“In 100 years time they’ll talk about Cian Lynch at the top of the list” | Darragh O’Donovan lauds All-Ireland winning captain

Promising to go “full demented” when talking to Ashling O’Reilly of OffTheBall on Monday evening at Pery Square, his interview was as refreshing as it was honest.

Following arguably his best year in the green jersey, Darragh O’Donovan is a shoo-in to claim his second All-Star award at the end of the year.

The Doon native, whose influence is often unheralded, delivered consistently in Limerick’s march to a four in a row, despite finding himself with different partners in high profile games.

Whether it was Will O’Donoghue, Cian Lynch or David Reidy beside him, O’Donovan was instrumental in all Limerick did well.

One of the on field MVPS’, O’Donovan took that role to the All-Ireland winning celebrations as he illustrated exactly what it is like to win the biggest prize in the GAA.

Stepping off the train in Colbert station, his message to Marty Morrissey was clear,

“The Marty Party will be in the Woodlands tonight. GO ON LIMERICK!”

DARRAGH O’DONOVAN

With so much media training, O’Donovan’s honest of emotion was a constant thread throughout the celebrations.

Promising to go “full demented” when talking to Ashling O’Reilly of OffTheBall on Monday evening at Pery Square, his interview was as refreshing as it was honest.

However, despite clearly enjoying the achievement of a four in a row, his respect for his teammates was striking. Sitting beside David Reidy with the younger brigade of Shane O’Brien, Adam English, Jimmy Quilty and Mark Quinlan behind, O’Donovan spoke glowingly.

From channeling his inner Jack Grealish and hoping for a Gucci sponsorship to singling out all around him for praise, it was an interview for the ages from O’Donovan.

Yet, much of his praise was reserved for a man he soldiered with in the underage Academy, with Mary I in the Fitzgibbon and started alongside on Sunday afternoon, Cian Lynch.

The Patrickswell man deputised as Limerick captain in the final and O’Donovan said he will go down as one of the greats when all is said and done.

“When you look around the dressing room you look at real characters, you look at someone like Cian Lynch yesterday, 25 minutes into the game six points down, his character stood up.

“When men were needed a man stood up yesterday.

“In 100 years time they’ll talk about Rackard, they’ll talk about Mackey, they’ll talk about Ring, they’ll talk about Canning, Shefflin and Reid, but Cian Lynch, he’ll be top of that list.”

“12 months ago he got a serious injury. We went on a holiday after Christmas and he got onto me one morning, he said ‘come on we’re going to run around the running track.’

“That man is just a mentality monster, he oozes class. What he’s done for hurling and for the GAA is just incredible. The proudest moment I’ve had as a Limerick hurler is to see Cian go up yesterday to collect the Liam MacCarthy.”

23 July 2023; Darragh O’Donovan, left, and Cian Lynch of Limerick celebrate with the Liam MacCarthy cup after the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship final match between Kilkenny and Limerick at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

The All-Star midfielder didn’t stop there as he turned his attention to those directly with him, praising the character of those coming into the set up.

Another he singled out was Shane O’Brien, the Kilmallack youngster drafted into the side despite still having another year of U20s to play. O’Brien, son of Clare S&C Adrian made his debut in the League and despite not featuring in the championship, O’Donovan has high hopes for the teenager.

“We’ve boys coming behind us, they’re ready to go. The Bull O’Brien here, when this man gets going there’ll be no stopping him, I’m telling you here and now, this man is going to be one of the all-time greats. He’s a legend, he’s 18 years of age, came into our panel this year, personality is what I’d see in any player.”

Four in a row and the production line doesn’t look like slowing, O’Donovan is the man to nurture that talent as one of the key leaders in the squad having been drafted in himself in Kiely’s maiden squad seven years ago now.

Watch the full interview with OffTheBall below.

https://twitter.com/offtheball/status/1683568986833969153?s=20

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