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Fit-again Enda Lynn is eager to make up for lost time with Derry

By John Campbell

The Dr McKenna Cup competition may still not whet the appetites of most players but for long-serving Derry forward Enda Lynn, the curtain-raiser to the new season represents a window of opportunity to continue his return to Ulster's top flight.

Lynn suffered serious ankle damage in an accidental collision with Tyrone substitute Conall McCann in the McKenna Cup final at the end of last January and the injury was to bring his career with the Oak Leaf side to a shuddering halt.

The 28-year-old Lynn had hoped to make a return when the Championship came around but recovery complications prevented him from doing so.

And while most players may now opt to feel their way into the new campaign, Lynn is fiercely resolved to continuing a robust rehabilitation process that has already seen him capture an Inter-provincial Championship medal with Ulster last month.

Indeed, provincial manager Peter McGrath's decision to show faith with Lynn proved the perfect pick-me-up as he now focuses on taking his Derry career to a new level in 2017, beginning with Sunday's game against Armagh at Owenbeg.

"It was just great to be a part of the Ulster squad and to be in there alongside some boys like Peter Harte, Aidan Breen and Charlie Vernon who really showed just what top-class players we have in Ulster," reflected Greenlough clubman Lynn.

"I have been about the Derry side for a while now and I always regard it as an honour to put on the county jersey. Ironically, although I suffered my injury in the McKenna Cup back in January, I'm now looking forward to the competition as part of my rehabilitation process in the Derry side."

Even when he was enduring heartbreak throughout most of last year, there were no recriminations from the self-effacing Lynn.

"I think my injury was a sheer accident, there was nothing of it," he said. "I genuinely think two teams go out to play football. I don't believe in people going out to give other players injuries. In my case, my standing foot took the full force of the impact."

Derry manager Damian Barton, who has introduced a raft of fresh faces into his panel for the McKenna Cup, nonetheless is also retaining faith with players like Mark Lynch, Benny Heron, Mark Craig, Ryan Bell, Danny Heavron and others who have rendered fine service to the county.

And the ever enthusiastic Lynn certainly comes into that particular category.

Barton stated: "Obviously it was disappointing that we did not have Enda to call upon in matches in 2016 but it was very gratifying to see him back in action with Ulster last month when he seems to have made an impact."

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