Lynch back to lead Derry

Derry captain Mark Lynch returns from injury to captain the Oak Leafers in Sunday's Allianz Football League Division 2 final against Westmeath at Croke Park (throw-in 2pm).

The Banagher clubman was absent for Derry's final two league games against Louth and Westmeath because of a hand injury.

"Mark was missing from the Longford game after breaking a couple of bones in his hand," manager Brian McIver said.

"He played a club game at the weekend (against Coleraine) and took a full part in training this week."

Former captain Gerard O'Kane switches to left corner back with Lynch taking the number six jersey, and Michael Bateson drops down to the bench.

McIver added: "For Dermot McBride and Carlus McWilliams this game has come too soon for them.

"Long term we have the likes of Mark Craig and Ryan Scott who are still rehabbing. If they are fit and well for the 2nd of June (against Down) it will be a big plus for us."

Derry handed Westmeath their only defeat of the league campaign to date last time out, in a game which saw the midlanders fielding a largely second string side.

McIver has been very impressed with what he has seen from Pat Flanagan's charges so far this year.

"Before our game Westmeath were the only side with an unbeaten record this season," he explained.

"That game against us didn't really count because they had made so many changes. They are a very mobile side.

"Paul Sharry coming back from injury the last day came in and played absolutely outstanding for them. John Heslin is a top class player and Denis Glennon and Dessie Dolan are also excellent.

"The line that has impressed me most in terms of Westmeath this season has been their half-forward line. Kieran Martin, (Callum) McCormack in the centre and Denis Corroon on the wing.

"Their half-forward line has been excellent to date. Westmeath are an excellent side and the wide open spaces of Croke Park we would hope will suit ourselves, but I also know it will suit Westmeath."

DERRY (NFL v Westmeath): Eoin McNicholl; Aidan McAlynn, Chrissy McKaigue, Gerard O'Kane; Charlie Kielt, Mark Lynch, Sean Leo McGoldrick; Patsy Bradley, Ryan Bell; Daniel Heavron, James Kielt, Enda Lynn; Benny Heron, Eoin Bradley, Raymond Wilkinson.

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