Tuesday 21 January 2020

All eyes were on 'colossus' Chin as national media turned spotlight on Wexford

Lee Chin is mobbed by adoring fans after the match at Innovate Wexford Park.
Lee Chin is mobbed by adoring fans after the match at Innovate Wexford Park.

By Maria Pepper

Star athlete Lee Chin has emerged as a kind of mythical superhuman character from Wexford's triumhant clash against Kilkenny in last weekend's Leinster senior hurling semi-final.

A stream of headlines have appeared in national newspapers and online outlets alongside action shots of Chin in impossible tackles, proclaiming his impressive physical prowess and sporting agility during a Cuchulainn-like performance in Wexford Park on Saturday evening, turning him into an Avatar-style hero.

'Proof that Lee Chin is one of the finest physical specimens in the country' declared which described the 24-year old as a 'colossus' and a 'human wrecking ball' and printed body-part photos of his biceps, triceps and leg muscles, remarking that he clearly never skips 'leg day'.

'Chin isn't just a hurler though, the man is an all-rounder. Apart from his wristy hands on the hurling field, his wand of a right food in soccer and Gaelic football and his versatility on the ice hockey field, the man must be an absolute beast in the gym', the admiring piece continued.

Many of the photographs published over the weekend show Chin mobbed by adoring fans, young and old, who are touching the hurler on the shoulder or chest as if to make sure that he's real or perhaps in the hope that some of his magical powers will rub off on them.

The Irish Times sports writer Malachy Clerkin wrote about the last 25 minutes of the game: 'Chin was in superhero mode by now - he had a hand in six of Wexford's closing seven points. There won't be a better display by a player anywhere this summer. It was a genuine privilege to be there to see him do it.'

Seasoned journalists joined the spectactors in gawping in amazement at the Wexfordman's superior physicality. The headline read 'Wexford stood up to Cats - and Lee Chin stood tallest'.

The Irish sun said at one point Lee Chin resembled 'an action comic hero, ploughing through his enemy's front line -dozens of black and amber bodies strewn at his feet as the rest clung to his back and legs in a futile effort to halt the clap of purple and gold thunder.'

'On a June evening along the banks of the Slaney, a fading empire's once vice-like grip on a province came apart. Wexford were no longer afraid. From now on, nor will anyone else be', the article continued.

Sun writer Gordon Manning invoked the sacred Rackard name: 'Moments later, Chin triggered his superpowers again to bounce on an invisible trampoline into the heavens above Wexford Park. Some Model (County) fans swear they saw a smiling Nicky Rackard, perched upon a cloud, offer his appreciation to Chin as the Wexford joint-captain dropped back down through the haze.'

Team player Chin modestly played down his starring role and didn't revel in personal glory. 'Look it, today it was me and the next day it could be another guy. There's a lot of leaders in this team' he said. 'There's an element (of leadership) that's needed every day'.

Wexford coach JJ Doyle said he thought that the catch Chin made on the far side of the field in the final minutes 'will probably live long in the memory'.

Confirming that Chin is indeed human, he dispelled any suggestions of easy-won or God-given powers by adding: 'I mean he's a phenomenal athlete but it's not a fluke either. The work he puts in, he's completely and utterly dedicated to it and he stood up.'

Regardless of his modesty and whether he likes it or not, Chin has is fast becoming the stuff of sporting legend and the kind of courageous hero that songs are written about.

Wexford People

Most Read