'It was daunting coming into the panel and training with girls you've looked up to for years'

Since coming into the Cavan senior team last year, Shauna Lynch has been quietly making a name for herself.

AISLING DOONAN, ROSIE Crowe and Donna English are all well-established names and key players on the Cavan ladies football team.

However, it’s often those lesser lights on a panel that end up making the biggest impact.

The county’s underage success over the past few years is also something that’s paying dividends, and one of those players coming from under the radar to join the above trio in making a name for herself is Shauna Lynch.

Sinead Buckley and Shauna Lynch Lynch was a pivotal player on the Cavan side that won the All-Ireland U16 B title in 2012. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The 19-year-old first came into the panel at the start of last year, making her league debut against Clare in March 2015.

“It was extremely daunting coming into the panel at first and training with girls you’ve looked up to for years, but everyone made me feel comfortable and part of the group straight away” Lynch told The42.

“Obviously, the transition from underage to senior was a huge step up in terms of the standard of football, training, preparation and commitment but I’ve loved every minute of it.

“It was a big help to have a lot of girls who I played underage football with come into the panel at the same time as me.”

The Crosserlough club woman has had an abundance of underage success with both her club and county.

“Winning the All-Ireland U16B final is probably one of my most memorable moments in a Cavan jersey.

“We also had a great win with the U21s a few weekends ago, winning an All-Ireland title. There’s so much talent within the U21 group and its always great to play with the girls from underage.”

In May, Lynch was selected to represent Ulster at the Inter-Provincial championships, which is a huge achievement alone, made even better when the side went on to win the tournament.

“It was a massive shock to get the call but I was delighted to go along and play with some great players and to win the series in the end was a bonus.”

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SHAUNA2 Lynch with Cavan manager Conor Barry. Source: Cavan LGFA Facebook

Also a talented camóg, the defender has had to make difficult decisions in the past few years as she tries to balance sport, college, work and her social life.

“I’m extremely fortunate to have an understanding boss at work who does his best to accommodate my sport and studies.

“All my family and friends understand that football is my number one priority and help me as best they can. I also play a bit of camogie when I can fit it in around my football and working life.”

Cavan open their championship campaign against Ulster rivals Donegal later today and Lynch is relishing her side’s chance to reach their first senior provincial final since the 1980s.

“Training has been very good since the end of the league and we’ve stepped up a level. Everyone is pushing each other on for places at the minute and that’s good for the panel.

“We feel we’ve a huge chance of winning as long as we can correct the small mistakes that have cost us against Donegal the last few times we played them, but we’ve worked hard on that over the past few weeks so we’re confident we can win.”

And does Lynch see much of her future in the blue jersey?

“Yes, absolutely. I want to continue playing with Cavan for as long as possible.

“We’ve had some great underage teams in the past few years so that talent coming through will hopefully push us on to win Ulster titles and one day hopefully an All-Ireland senior title.”

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Emma Duffy

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