"I gave him a slap on the...

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"I gave him a slap on the back and rubbed him up and he bawled into my shoulder"


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The subject of one of the most iconic images of Limerick’s All Ireland win has opened up about the emotion she felt in the immediate aftermath of the full-time whistle.

Valerie Lynch watched her son Cian help end Limerick’s 45 year wait for All Ireland glory as they beat Galway by 3-16 to 2-18.

Simply watching from the stands wasn’t going to cut it, as Valerie decided that in that moment she needed to embrace her son.

The moment was captured by Inpho photographer James Crombie and has since become one of the most shared images from the final. It featured prominently in the papers the next day. 

Lynch was a guest on Thursday’s OTB AM with Ger and Eoin and began by talking about how she managed to evaded a sea of stewards to make it to her son:

“Well that’s a big top secret but I can tell you honestly it wasn’t planned or premeditated but I had great assistance and a lovely gentleman and it paid to be small, there was no stopping me.

“I had a nice little word, I didn’t even say my son I don’t believe in that my son nonsense, I said ‘one moment, one hug and I’ll be back’ and then I got out and I ran like the clatters.

“I was delighted I got to Cian because he was just standing and he wasn’t breathing at all and I gave him a slap on the back and rubbed him up and he bawled into my shoulder, I had the moment and I ran back.

“He was actually in shock I knew by his face he wasn’t breathing so I put my hand and gave him a slap and he just bawled into my shoulders.

“I just knew he needed it and by god he did and I just held him and he released the tears and let a big sigh out and I just slapped him and told him ‘go enjoy this I’m so proud’ and he ran off.”

Cian Lynch spotted the iconic image for the first time on the Monday morning after the final when he was sent the picture by Off The Ball’s Tommy Rooney, clearly emotional the midfielder spoke of the joy it brought him to see his mother on the field at full-time.

“Ah Jesus, I see it. I’ve some head on me. Jesus that’s lovely now in fairness – she’ll be delighted with that,” Lynch said.

“I actually struggled to breathe for a few minutes and I was thinking: ‘Jesus, we’re after winning an All-Ireland’. It’s a dream come true.

“The mother came out of nowhere and I grabbed her and just put my head on her shoulder. It was a moment where I could actually just get a breather for a second; take in my surroundings and realise – this is what it’s all about.

“She was the woman who was there for me from the very beginning with the whole family. To see her there on the pitch and seeing her smiling puts it all into perspective really.”

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">&quot;One moment, one hug - I&#39;ll be back&quot; <br><br>- Valerie Lynch explains how she got onto the pitch to embrace her son after the All-Ireland hurling final...<br><br>Watch the full interview here: <a href="https://t.co/h8FZ0jPxda">https://t.co/h8FZ0jPxda</a> <a href="https://t.co/GcKc76Is4M">pic.twitter.com/GcKc76Is4M</a></p>&mdash; Off The Ball (@offtheball) <a href="https://twitter.com/offtheball/status/1032566930090143746?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">August 23, 2018</a></blockquote>
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