Lynch's delight as he edges out idol Canning
FROM careering on to the pitch after matches trying to snatch Joe Canning's signature, Cian Lynch moved up in the world last night by snatching the Hurler of the Year award from the Galway idol.
Limerick's engine at midfield this year was provided by the boundless Lynch, whose standout performances against Cork and Galway in the All-Ireland series helped propel his team to a first Liam MacCarthy Cup since 1973.
His domination of the battle with Johnny Coen in the decider was a significant factor, and that helped see him take the crown off Canning, who was again nominated having won the award last year and arguably had a better campaign in 2018.
“I'm playing senior hurling for Limerick for four years and Joe is there at least ten years playing with Galway. I remember going to matches looking up at him,” said Lynch.
“I used to be running onto pitches after games trying to get his autograph. Even when he was nominated again this year along with Pádraic Mannion, these are guys that I admire and aspire to be like.
“I was just lucky enough to get the award this year, but there's still great credit due to those guys for what they do for their counties and hurling itself.”
Lynch was the subject of a post-match photograph after the final that quickly became famous after his mother Valerie broke the security cordon to get on to the pitch at Croke Park, where she embraced her son.
He joked that a bit of extra-tight security might have been needed at last night's bash in Dublin, but revealed that he hadn't told his parents in advance of receiving the award.
“Barry [Cahill] rang me during the week and when I saw the phone ringing I didn't really know what to expect. I thought he was just enquiring about something.
“When I answered it and he said, 'Cian, I've a bit of news, you're after getting the Hurler of the Year', it took me a second actually to realise what he said. To be honest, I didn't believe him.
“It never actually came into my head that I could possibly get it. It was a great year for Limerick as a team and that was the only thing that I looked at around the start of the year and even since the 19th of August. Anything after that was a bonus.
“I was questioning whether I'd tell the mother and father or not and I kind of said to myself that I won't. It would be a great night for them to come up, they're coming up expecting nothing, and to see me go up and collect the Hurler of the Year Award is going to be extra-special for them.
“Because, at the end of the day, it does go back to the mother and father. They were there with me since day one and it's an absolute honour to get it.”