Mark Lynch made a dramatic return to the Derry football side in their last National League outing against Donegal.
Lynch scored three points in that game and further intensified the rush for places in Damian Cassidy’s line-up for Sunday’s National League decider against Kerry.
Lynch, whose father Mickey played for Derry with considerable distinction, is a former captain of UUJ and is regarded as one of the most versatile players in the Oak Leaf squad.
But a troublesome shoulder problem has restricted his involvement with the county team to date this year.
Right now, though, he’s just happy to be back in the groove and is keen to play his part in taking Derry to another National Leaguetriumph.
“Obviously it was frustrating for me to miss several matches earlier on but now I’m hoping to make up for lost time,” says Lynch.
His return could hardly have been better timed.
His considerable bulk, pace and power provide manager Cassidy with an interesting option.
His return is offset to some extent by the fact that Sean Martin Lockhart, Niall McCusker and Patsy Bradley are all unavailable for Sunday’s final.
This means that Cassidy will have to amend his defence and Kevin McCloy, Kevin McGuckin and Paul Cartin could now all find themselves in the frame to confront Jack O’Connor’s side.
Fergal Doherty is expected to resume as Derry captain and will be partnered in midfield by Enda Muldoon.
Doherty has been an absentee in recent games but is now understood to have regained full fitness after an injury.
The composition of the Kerry midfield is still a matter of conjecture although a Dara O Se-David Moran pairing could pose big problems for the Ulster side. Seamus Scanlon and Tommy Griffen are likely to be out of the reckoning but Moran’s burgeoning reputation, allied to those of Aidan O’Shea and Tommy Walsh, will ensure that this trio of young guns will be doing their best to shoot down Derry.
Meanwhile, Derry officials have urged fans to get behind the side in their bid to retain the National League title.
It is feared that because of the economic recession the attendance at the final, which will be staged in tandem with the Division Two decider between Monaghan and Cork, could be extremely low by Croke Park standards.
The GAA has already taken the commendabale decision to slash ticket prices for the occasion - something that has been welcomed by all participating counties.
A Derry spokesman said: “It would be great if we could get the crowd behind us. We would like to think that some Monaghan fans may stay behind after their game to give us a cheer. Mind you, they definitely won’t be cheering us on when we play their team in the Ulster Championship!”