Derry senior football manager Damian McErlain must plan without the experience of Mark Lynch for their 2019 promotion bid from division four.

The former Oakleaf captain, this week, informed McErlain of his decision to step away from inter-county action.

Lynch, who played more than 50 times for Derry seniors, burst onto the scene at centre back on Derry’s All-Ireland minor winning team of 2002 while still an U16.

At college level, he won a Hogan Cup with St Patrick’s Maghera and a Sigerson Cup with UUJ.

His made his senior debut, under Mickey Moran, in 2004 as Derry went all the way to an All-Ireland semi-final, where they were beaten by Kerry.

The Banagher man was part of Derry's 2008 NFL league winning team and played in the 2009 final defeat to Kerry.

As captain, he also won a NFL division 2 medal in 2013 and played in the division 1 defeat to Dublin 12 months later.

Lynch's last game of this 14 year career was this year’s All-Ireland qualifier defeat to Kildare at Owenbeg.

This season he led by example at midfield as Banagher gained promotion back to the senior ranks.

They won the club’s first intermediate championship title before losing out controversially on free kicks a thrilling Ulster semi-final to Mullahoran.

Derry commence their NFL campaign away to Antrim on Sunday, January 27 and were last night drawn to face Tyrone, Fermanagh and UUJ in the Dr McKenna Cup.

The opening game will be at home to Tyrone on Sunday, December 16, followed by a trip to Fermanagh (Sunday, January 6) before concluding at home to UUJ on Wednesday, January 9.

Pic: Mary K Burke

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