Declan Lynch hangs up his inter-county boots after playing his last game at Croke Park

‘The physical and mental effort to play at this level is huge’

Declan Lynch became a father for the first time during the week and had cause for a double-celebration as he helped Antrim secure their Division Three status with a win over Wicklow on Sunday. Picture: Colm Lenaghan
Declan Lynch retires from Antrim PICTURE: Colm Lenaghan

AFTER 12 years on sentry duty and five hip surgeries, Antrim defender Declan Lynch has retired from the inter-county scene.

The highly rated Lamh Dhearg clubman was bitterly disappointed to end his Antrim career after Sunday’s Tailteann Cup semi-final defeat to Laois at Croke Park but is content with his decision.

Pictured at the foot of the Hogan stand with his wife Áine and baby Catháir after losing to Laois by five points, the images hinted that this was the end of the road for the 32-year-old.

Speaking to The Irish News on Monday, Lynch confirmed the decision.

“That’s me done – the boots are hung up now. The only thing that would have brought me back for another season was if we’d won the Tailteann Cup and to give the All-Ireland series a crack.

“But you know what, it’s just getting harder and harder to do. I was happy with my performances this year.

“I feel it’s the right time to go. I considered retiring last year but thought I could go one more season as there was something left in me, and I was proved right.

“I just wouldn’t be too sure that I would have it in me to go again because it took a big effort, physically and mentally, to get back to that level. I’ve a young family now, priorities change.”

In 2013, Lynch originally joined the county hurlers squad before switching to the footballers. It proved a good decision as Lynch has been arguably the most consistent performer for the footballers over the past decade and a bit.

“It’s been a long stint, but I wouldn’t change anything. The highlights for me were making my debut in a League game against Clare and getting to captain Antrim.”

More on Declan Lynch’s Antrim career in tomorrow’s Irish News...