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Austin Gleeson v Cian Lynch: Hurlers of the Year collide

Shane Stapleton and Michael Verney track the underage success of Austin Gleeson and Cian Lynch, and look at the trajectories of their careers

Shane Stapleton and Michael Verney track the underage success of Austin Gleeson and Cian Lynch, and look at the trajectories of their careers.

Sunday’s All-Ireland SHC final might be a novel pairing but these Limerick and Waterford players have known each other for the best part of a decade.

In 2013 and 2014, they contested two replayed Munster MHC finals, with the Treaty winning on both occasions.

Six of the current Déise senior side saw action across those four encounters, while double that number of John Kiely’s outfit were involved between the two years.

Austin Gleeson and Cian Lynch were the household names from those minor days, and it has been an upward curve since with both going on to operate at Under-21 level for four years.

Gleeson made his senior championship debut as an 18-year-old in 2014 versus Cork when the Mount Sion man scored 1-2, including a goal that was a contender for the score of the year.

Twelve months later, Lynch made the jump straight from underage to adult inter-county hurling, hitting 0-3 against Clare and receiving the man of the match award.

Further individual and team honours have continued with both winning the Hurler of the Year accolade, National League and All-Ireland Under-21 titles with their counties.

‘Aussie’ also scooped up the Young Hurler of the Year in 2016 while the Patrickswell player can add a Liam McCarthy Cup and two provincial medals to his collection.

Speaking on The Hurling Show, Verney feels they have two different types of styles.

“Lynch is the link man, opening up defences with a little lay-off or quick hands,” says the Birr native.

“He has taken over in various spells of different games this year and he was brilliant in the second-half versus Galway.

“Whereas maybe Gleeson feels he has to get on the scoreboard regularly, as he takes on more of the attacking burden.

“If I was to say who would take over a game more, I’d go with Austin because he could end up with four or five points in a half like he did the last day.

“There is a huge chance if he going well, then Waterford could win the game.”

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