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'We're going into the lion's den' - Cian Lynch on facing Clare in Ennis

The boy wonder looks ahead to tonight’s Munster U21 hurling final.

Cian Lynch celebrates.
Cian Lynch celebrates.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

LIMERICK’S boy wonder Cian Lynch admits that the Shannonsiders are going into the lion’s den when they face Clare in this evening’s (Thursday) Bord Gáis Energy Munster U21 hurling final at Cusack Park in Ennis at 7pm.

Clare are unbeaten in the U21 grade since 2011 and put a fancied Waterford to the sword at the provincial semi-final stage.

Limerick make the short trip across the border to take on the hosts and Lynch, 19, will be a marked man following his senior exploits this summer.

On his senior championship debut, the Patrickswell dynamo scored 0-3 against Clare and he also whipped home a cracking early goal against Tipperary in the Munster U21 semi-final.

Lynch has quickly become accustomed to big games and intimidating atmospheres and with 12,000 tickets already sold for the Cusack Park clash, this evening’s local derby is another big test.

The 2014 Munster minor winning captain said: “The stadium is close enough to the field so they nearly hit every ball with you.

“To have home advantage is massive for them.

“Every team would love to play a Munster final on their home ground.”

Lynch’s exploits in the senior championship clash between the counties will ensure that he will come in for some special attention in the U21 grade.

But Lynch shrugged: “Don’t mind that, that was a totally different story.

“U21s are totally different to seniors. That game is a thing of the past. We will move on and worry about Thursday. Three years ago we played them in the Munster minor semi-final.

“That game went to extra-time, but they beat us well. They are developing players very well in Clare.”

Source: kelvin lynch/YouTube

At schools level, Lynch captured a Harty Cup medal with Ardscoil Rís in 2014 in a team that also featured Ian Galvin, who was superb for Clare in their semi-final victory over Waterford.

And Lynch acknowledged: “You would develop a bond when on the same team together so it will be weird playing against a good friend, a lad you kind of grew up with. That’s the joys of it.

“It has happened down the years. Ardscoil has been a school that has had Clare and Limerick hurlers in the past come through and players are used to playing against each other.

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“The school has come on leaps and bounds over the last couple of years. “When I came in, in first year, it was kind of starting off, Ardscoil Rís was looking for hurlers to come into the school.

“Thankfully, when I came in a great group of young fellas came in after us and there was lads there before us as well. It started the hurling in Limerick city really.
“It brought lads together, it brought lads from Clare and Limerick together and they started playing at the top level, the Harty Cup, together.

“We won White Cups, Rice Cups, Dean Ryan Cups and Harty Cups.

“It has developed hurlers that might never have got the chance.”

And Lynch insisted that a recent challenge between Clare and Limerick’s U21s will have no bearing on tonight’s tussle.

At one stage in proceedings, Limerick were 13 points clear before Clare closed the gap by full-time.

But Lynch said: “A lot of the senior lads from Clare weren’t playing, I wasn’t playing, Leaving Certs weren’t playing.

“Championship matches are totally different to challenge matches.”

And Lynch is determined that a stellar season won’t end this evening, following the recent championship exits for the Limerick minor and senior teams.

He added: “Every team wants to be playing right up to September, October, even with your club.

“If we were to end our summer before August, it would be weird.

“The last couple of years with the minors, we have went on to August. “Hopefully we can keep it going.”

Copy provided behalf of competition sponsors Bord Gáis Energy.

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