by Daragh Small
Tyrone's sensational TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Senior Championship quarter-final victory over Cork in 2010 sent shockwaves through the game – and Shannon Lynch remembers it well.
The Tyrone net-minder was in her debut season with the Red Hands – and they went all the way to a Senior Final.
Nine years later, Lynch is still going strong at inter-county level for Tyrone, and she’ll pit her wits against the Leesiders again when the sides clash in Saturday’s TG4 All-Ireland Senior quarter-final at Duggan Park, Ballinasloe (3pm, Live on LGFA Facebook).
Tyrone’s ability to send shockwaves rippling through the game continues, and after toppling Ulster champions Donegal in the group stages, Gerry Moane’s charges now have a wounded Cork in their sights.
“You don’t think about it until it (2010) was mentioned the other day,” said Lynch.
“It is mad, almost ten years ago now. On the day we did perform, yes it was close and with Cork you can never be too far ahead. But we really pushed on that day. It was a great day for Tyrone football in general.”
It was some introduction to inter-county football for Lynch. As a first year novice, she had already experienced one of the best results in Tyrone Ladies football history.
Now, nine years down the line, she still awaits her first piece of senior silverware with Tyrone, although last September’s TG4 All-Ireland intermediate medal certainly softens that statistic.
Lynch hails from Castlederg near the Donegal border and plays her club football with Mná Na Deirge.
An occupational therapist by qualification, she decided to devote her professional life to helping people understand and deal with the difficulties of life in the 21st century.
Focusing on mental health awareness through her ‘A Pocket of Positivity’ workshops, Lynch aims to helps young and old understand their feelings.
In a month where Love Island dominated our Facebook and Twitter feeds, she knows it’s crucial to focus on what’s important in life.
“There is so much going on on social media,” the 26-year-old added.
“There is the constant need to seek approval with the likes and comments. It is trying to strip it back to understanding more about themselves without external validation. It is easy to get caught up.
“There is so much coming at people from a young age that it is nearly too much to deal with. It is trying to have healthy boundaries.
“It is hard to say what contributes and what doesn’t but there’s the constant stream coming at people. There is no harm in any reality show or social media. Most of us are involved in it but it is knowing the boundaries.
“Everything is a snapshot. You only see the best you don’t see the other side of everybody. It is making people aware.
“Just because you see a photo it doesn’t mean their whole life is like that.”
Lynch is a big believer in meditation. Simple things like putting the phone down, switching off the TV and radio and appreciating her own surroundings.
It’s a knowledge she likes to impart to her Tyrone teammates but they are well-equipped to deal with everyday stresses and anxieties through the work of the WGPA and their friends in the dressing room.
“A lot of the girls have their own things,” said Lynch. “The WGPA does a lot there. Those messages come through all the time through our representatives too. There is a lot of support out there.
“We are an open understanding team. Everyone has someone they can speak to if things aren’t great. It is not something we shy away from at all.”
However, it’s always nice to have a calming influence between the goalposts and Lynch will hope to bring that to Duggan Park today. They may be underdogs, but Tyrone have the comfort of their recent 3-12 to 3-9 victory over Donegal to call on.
Maxi Curran’s side had beaten Tyrone by four points in Round 1 of the TG4 Ulster championship but lessons were learned and that result was ruthlessly avenged in Mullingar.
Cork will look for a backlash of their own after last weekend’s loss to Armagh, and while history points towards a Cork victory, it did in Lynch’s debut season too.
“It was only my third or fourth game and I was still trying to find my feet,” said Lynch.
“I remember the build-up to the game. It was a big one but we were a tight group. We had put in a lot of work. We knew we had to put on a big performance and it would take our very best.
“It shows that it doesn’t matter what way teams are ranked if you play your best football.
“Cork have dominated Ladies football for a long time. They are a great side and brilliant to watch. It was a brilliant day to beat them.
“But it’s tough getting to the top and it’s even tougher staying there.”Tweet