Cian Lynch admits injury setbacks in recent years have been frustrating, but the Limerick hurler hopes his days on the treatment table are behind him now.
Lynch endured a difficult 2022 campaign when a hamstring injury suffered during Limerick’s Munster round-robin game against Waterford kept him out for most of the championship.
He returned as a sub in Limerick’s semi-final win over Galway, only to go over on his ankle in training ahead of the 2022 All-Ireland final and was unable to feature.
The two-time Hurler of the Year worked his way back to fitness for 2023 but strained the same hamstring again during Limerick’s Munster round-robin encounter with Clare.
“Injuries are frustrating, that’s the joys of sport and I suppose it’s trying to accept that part of it at times when you’re not used to it,” says Lynch, who has been named as the PwC Hurler of the Month for July.
“I was always very lucky growing up and thank God I was injury free. Last year was kind of the first time I ever experienced not being able to go out and train with the lads or play a match.
“I suppose that does take its toll as well and anybody who has ever experienced injury, you are there but you are not togged out.
“Coming from work, training is a good release so when you don’t have that you realise how much you miss it.”
Given he has now been sidelined twice with the same hamstring, it naturally increases concern of further setbacks for the 27-year-old Patrickswell player.
“You’d always be aware. When you’ve had two injuries, the hamstring was 12 weeks, then the ankle was kind of another three to four months after that, after the operation,” Lynch adds.
“So obviously, subconsciously in your mind you’re worried and probably a bit paranoid that, ‘Oh no, is something going to happen here now?’
“But when you’re doing the training and you’re doing the gym work and the strength and conditioning, you’re building that confidence and that knowledge in your own mind that your body is getting there and that it’s capable.
“You just have to be patient as well. The last thing you want to do is play through a niggle because that’s when things get worse.”
Because of all that hard work off the field he was able to hit form towards the latter stages of this year’s championship and, with Declan Hannon injured, Lynch captained Limerick in the All-Ireland final.
After the game, in a reversal of 2022, Lynch brought the Adare man up the steps with him to collect the Liam MacCarthy.
“I wasn’t togged out last year, I was just walking around the pitch and Dec grabbed me to pull me up the steps and I remember that moment was just unbelievable.
“After the final whistle this year I said, ‘You know what now, it’s time to bring Dec up here as well and return the favour.’ I just thought it was special to bring him up those steps because I know how hard it is not to tog out on the day and not be able to put on the jersey but to have him there beside me lifting the cup was just so special.
“He’s our leader and we all see Dec as our leader, long may it last.”
Cian Lynch has been named as the PwC Hurler of the Month for July.