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Lynch is striving to end the year in style by helping Lamh Dhearg to Antrim glory

Title drive: Declan Lynch has his sights on Antrim throne
Title drive: Declan Lynch has his sights on Antrim throne
John Campbell

By John Campbell

This year started on a high for Lamh Dhearg defender Declan Lynch when he was made captain of Antrim.

But while he enjoyed that particular honour, Lynch is hoping to end 2019 in some style by helping his club come out on top against Cargin in tomorrow's Antrim Senior Football Championship final.

Antrim may have failed to gain promotion from Division Four of the Allianz League and were knocked out of the Ulster Championship by Tyrone before losing to Kildare in the All-Ireland qualifiers, but Lynch nonetheless thoroughly enjoyed his stint as captain.

"It was an absolute honour to be asked to captain the county," insisted Lynch.

"To be picked for your county is a massive achievement. To be selected as captain is an honour that only a handful of people get to share in."

Lynch's dedication to his club and county are legendary but it's with Lamh Dhearg that he hopes to enjoy another helping of County Championship glory following the team's triumph in 2017.

Along with Paddy Cunningham, John Finucane, the Murray brothers Ryan and Conor and Michael Herron, Lynch helps to provide what is proving an invaluable layer of experience within the side.

With Cunningham in spectacular shooting form right now - he scored 2-4 in the second replay win over Portglenone on Monday night - and Conor Ryan back on song following a protracted absence because of injury, Lamh Dhearg believe they have the ammunition up front to trouble the Cargin defence.

But Lynch is conscious that Cargin's track record, experience and ability to close out games will bolster their bid to secure yet another county title.

"Cargin are there on merit and we have to try and knock them off their perch," pointed out Lynch.

"It will be a difficult job because they're a skilful team full of county players and immense talent, so we'll just do our best against them."

Cargin are certainly not short on craft and power with Tony Scullion, Justin Crozier, Michael McCann, James Laverty, John Carron, Michael Magill and Tomas McCann underpinning their side and more often than not deploying their experience efficiently.

All have given admirable service to the Antrim county team and are currently underlining their dedication and enthusiasm at club level as Cargin keep a strong focus on the county title.

Yet for all that Lynch still believes that those clashes which his side had with Roger Casements, Portglenone at the semi-final stage have helped to further bond the team, although just what impact they may have had on their stamina and perhaps their morale remains to be seen.

"We had not bargained for three games at the semi-final stage but you just have to go with what is before you," added Lynch.

"We eventually got over that particular hurdle and we now know that we are coming up against a team that has grown accustomed to winning Antrim titles and will have gained in confidence and cohesion because of that.

"However, we will focus on our own game."

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