WHAT started out as a one-year career break to join his then girlfriend in New Zealand, Grenagh man Jason Lynch has since married and carved out a great life and career away from home.
Here he tells us about his life 12,000 miles from his home town and the importance of sport.
“I live in Auckland, having taken a career break from the guards nine years ago to join my girlfriend, now my wife, who had started a job here. We both fell in love with the place and have been here ever since.
“I work as national account manager for a security firm which has approximately 2,500 staff. New Zealand is similar to Ireland in terms of the countryside, but the weather is better and the lifestyle is very different.
“I get to volunteer with New Zealand coastguard and from this you get to see Auckland from the water. Unfortunately we didn’t get home this Christmas and haven’t done so in four years, however there is some consolation is that we spent Christmas Day scuba diving in Hawaii.”
Lynch was heavily involved in sport before he left Ireland, having played soccer with Waterloo, Ballincollig, and Cobh Ramblers before he moved into coaching at the age of 15.
“I began coaching when I was asked to pick up some cones and footballs by Barry McGovern and the great Pat Cronin. Pat and Neil Cronin from the Cork Schoolboys League have been a huge support over the years, along with my father in terms of coaching and backing me. Sometimes all you need is some luck.
“From there I spent 14 years with the schoolboys. I also coached Knockavilla for a short few seasons and began coaching GAA.
“I spent two years with Cork Senior B after a stint with Ballincollig ladies footballers who were good enough to trust a young coach with their junior side and then I moved on to Waterford intermediates.
I was fortunate to experience Croke Park on All-Ireland final day as a 25-year-old coach in 2010.
“Unfortunately we lost to Donegal by a point, but it was all massive experience. I also spent a few years referreing schoolboys soccer which was a shock as I was normally the one giving the ref plenty of stick!
“That was an experience I truly enjoyed and am thankful to all the refs who spend their time manning games each week.”
Sport was always integral to Lynch’s life and that continued in New Zealand. He was involved with GAA up until last year with Auckland GAA, coaching the men’s and ladies team at Auckland Harps.
“I have spent a number of seasons coaching a women’s premier team north of Auckland then moved to Unimount Bohemians for the past two years. There is a huge Irish contingent and I sit on the executive of the club.
“If that wasn’t enough I also returned to coaching boxing. Sport is everything and having been involved in the women’s game, it’s absolutely fantastic to see the World Cup come here next summer.
This will be huge, not just for the World Cup but to show how beautiful a country it is.
"It is brilliant for the development of the sport in New Zealand. The key will be how to capitalise on having such a tournament here and Australia.”
So while Lynch will miss family at Christmas time, he is looking forward to 2023 during which he has many ambitions.
He is currently studying business and leadership so the aim is to finish that this year.
“I hope to travel some more now that the borders are open and just experience more of what is on offer. Covid has taught me that it’s important to take time out for yourself and your family. I was lucky to work through Covid and it gave a me great perspective to take each month as it comes.”
He has many ambitions in coaching.
“I hope we can get our first golden gloves and national champion at the end of this year. I hope to develop the ladies game in the club where its structure and pathway is self-sustainable. I plan on expanding my coaching license whether that be soccer or other sports.
“We can always learn from other sports and that’s what I hope to do.”