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Returning from knee injury, early days as dual player and watching back Tipperary defeat

Lee Chin reflects on 2019 and looks ahead to a big season with Wexford.

Wexford hurler Lee Chin at the official announcement of Chadwicks’ naming rights partnership with Wexford GAA.
Wexford hurler Lee Chin at the official announcement of Chadwicks’ naming rights partnership with Wexford GAA.
Image: Matt Browne/SPORTSFILE

IN THE WAKE of Wexford matches in recent years, Lee Chin has made a habit of heading home and watching back the game tape straight away.

Chin finds it a useful exercise to cast a cold eye on his own performance and “focus on things I could have done better on my own side of things.”

He broke his habit after their All-Ireland semi-final exit to Tipperary last August, instead waiting for a couple of weeks before he could stomach it.

Even then, Chin only watched the opening 55 minutes before turning it off.

“Up to the 55th minute I was excited about watching the game even though I knew what was coming afterwards,” he said. “And I actually think, I switched it off from there.

“And probably the biggest learning point I would have gotten was from the last 15 to 20 minutes as opposed to the first 55 minutes you know, so it took me another little while to address that.

“Look it’s a game at the end of the day. I try not to let it have so much of an effect.”

A keen student of the game, he said last November that one of the hardest parts about the Tipperary loss was the lack of a debrief as a group afterwards.

When Wexford resumed training ahead of 2020, Davy Fitzgerald’s squad dissected the game and Chin found the process cathartic.

“We just needed to address a couple of things and I think it was very comforting at the time as well when we did it as a team,” said Chin. 

“As a team just try to cover those things before we go back into training and talk about it collectively. So you’d have a couple of points you’d like to bring up yourself or whatever.

“I got around to doing it myself but still didn’t have feeling of pure comfort out of it because you are so used after games to doing it together.

“I was just waiting for that to happen and we got around to that when we went back training and we addressed a few things and spoke about it. It was easier to put it to bed after that.

“They are such a good side that it was no surprise to me they went on and won the All-Ireland because they are such a good team. There are so capable doing that to any team in Ireland in their day. We were gutted at the end of the day.

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“In some respects if we had continued doing what they were doing and we were beaten that way, through Tipp just dominating us at the end you’d almost think, ‘We gave everything we had.’

“But I think at the end of that game and the way things went and the way we allowed them to happen in terms of letting them funnel back and us not pushing back out the field, it is a bit frustrating to think we allowed that to happen. But at the end of the day, that’s hurling that’s sport and that’s the game.”

lee-chin-consoled-by-manager-liam-sheedy Wexford’s Lee Chin consoled by Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy after the All-Ireland semi-final. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

He was in Croke Park to witness Liam Sheedy’s side go on to lift the Liam MacCarthy Cup, which didn’t make their semi-final defeat any easier to get over. 

“At the end of the day I’m a hurling fan, I’ve been to the last number of All Irelands and it is a great occasion for the GAA and it is a great day to be up among fans and supporters and the day it is just electric.

“The day that’s in it, the aftermath of the All-Ireland, getting up to socialise with your own friends and meeting different people.

“I wanted to go up to the game. It wasn’t I suppose the most comforting game to sit through either but looking at Tipp and the way they went on to win it by such a big score.

“There’s no doubting what Tipperary are as a team, there’s no doubting their quality.”

Chin spent the start of the season rehabbing a knee injury he suffered during last year’s trip to New York. 

“I’m getting there,” he said of his fitness. “Probably still not operating off 100% but again a lot of GAA lads don’t regularly operate off 100% anyway. I heard one before if GAA lads are at 70%, that’s 100% for them. 

“I had a bit of a setback in New York, the Super 11s, partially tore the PCL in my knee.”

The Faythe Harriers clubman was one of the last high-profile GAA dual players. He famously lined out with Wexford footballers and hurlers in the championship over one weekend in 2013.

“I suppose as a young guy at the time you were just wanting to do it all. Getting the chance and time for me to go out and represent (Wexford in) hurling and football consecutively in the one weekend, you were just thinking, ‘Ah great, I’m well able to do it, I’m in a good place physically, I’ll be able to get through it’.

“That weekend was actually decent, we drew against Dublin and went up and beat Louth and I was part of both games. It was great at the time but I wouldn’t be doing it now.”

Chin also had a soccer stint with Wexford Youths in the League of Ireland, but has since poured all his focus into the small ball code.

“I think when you’re sharing your time and sharing the load of your commitment and everything to other sports, it can have an effect. I felt that definitely when I was a lot younger, as opposed to the last couple of years I’ve totally committed to hurling.

“People still often ask me am I still playing football for Wexford? I find it odd that they don’t realise that I’m not. I haven’t played football since I was 21 years of age for Wexford.

“I’ve dedicated all my time to Wexford hurling, that is going to have a massive effect going forward when you’re totally committed to one thing in your life and especially in sport.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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