LONG-SERVING DERRY forward and former captain Mark Lynch has called time on his inter-county career after 15 years on the senior scene.
Citing family and work commitments, the 32-year-old Banagher man says that he’s heartbroken to step away, but feels that the time is right.
The news comes as a blow to the Oak Leaf county, with Lynch one of the most experienced and reliable players in the set-up.
An All-Ireland minor champion in 2002, Lynch soon catapulted onto the senior stage and was handed his senior debut in 2004 by Mickey Moran.
He was a member of the National Football League Division 1-winning team who beat Kerry in 2008 and captained his county to Division 2 glory in 2014.
Derry GAA have confirmed the news, with Lynch himself adding: “As someone who grew up wanting to represent my club and county, I feel privileged that I got the chance to do both.
“But there is a time for everything and, with current family and work commitments, now feels like the right time for me to retire from county football and devote those extra energies to other areas of my life.
“Playing for Derry was something I always enjoyed and it breaks my heart to think I won’t do it again. For me there was always a real buzz wearing the red and white and representing my county, my club, and my community.”
He expressed confidence that Derry are on the up again with talented youth filtering through. That said, the Ulstermen have a challenge ahead of them as they look to bounce back from relegation to Division 4 of the league — now without Lynch.
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“Mark Lynch is a class act who has given unstinting service to Derry football for many years,” manager Damian McErlain noted.
“He was a manager’s dream and a role model who made a real positive impact on all the players around him. Mark had a great footballing brain and was always a leader. He was someone you always wanted on the ball.
“Mark will be missed but we wish him well in the next chapter of his life.”
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