Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Derry's Mark Lynch left to sweat on final prospects

Mark Lynch has spent the best part of a decade as a first-choice Derry player but with very little to show for his efforts.

A towering performance in the 2008 National Football League final when the Oak Leaf side beat Kerry remains an abiding memory for the Banagher clubman who, like his colleagues, has watched Tyrone and Armagh virtually share ownership of the Ulster title.

On Sunday the prospect of a rare honour looms for the great-hearted Lynch when Derry confront Westmeath in the Allianz League Division Two final but a hand injury could yet prevent him from leading his side out at Headquarters.

Derry have already secured their place in Division One for next year – ironically, through beating already-promoted Westmeath on Sunday week last – but relish the prospect of overcoming the midland side again on Sunday to not only bring the curtain down on their campaign in style but to post a warning that they could prove a force in the Ulster Championship.

Lynch was appointed captain by new manager Brian McIver but has not played since March 16.

And while he is desperately keen to lead from the front at Croke Park, Lynch is conscious that he is facing an anxious few days following a pronouncement by manager McIver.

McIver said: "We have a number of players including Mark, Barry McGoldrick, P J McCloskey and Dermot McBride coming back from injury and they will all be monitored closely at training for the remainder of this week. It is important that all the players who start on Sunday will be in top physical condition as Croke Park is a very demanding arena and can ask big questions of players."

McIver has been handed a timely boost as Eoin Bradley scored 2-10 for Glenullin in their league win over Ballinderry last Saturday and James Kielt is anxious to maintain his stunning scoring sequence which has seen him become one of the top marksmen in the league.

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