A Newry man who has died just over a year after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) has been remembered as a “legend” and a “superb athlete”.
Martin (Marty) Lynch was a talented footballer, cyclist and triathlete, as well as a much-loved husband and father.
In a Facebook post, Legends4Lyncho, a charity set up to help Mr Lynch in his battle with the disease and raise awareness of it, said: “Folks it is with great regret that we learn of Marty’s passing today.
“Legend is an often used word but in Marty’s case it was totally justified – thank you all for supporting Marty and his raising awareness of MND – rest in peace dear friend.”
Newry Wheelers Cycling Club said: “It is with the utmost sadness to hear of the death of our dear friend Martin Lynch. A gentleman, superb athlete, family man, a lover of life.
“He fought his battle with motor neurone disease (MND) to the very end, raising much needed awareness around the disease.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Rosie, sons Ryan and Kenneth; brothers Kevin and Padraig and family circle at this very sad time.
“You are at peace now Marty and you will be truly missed.”
The club said that, as a mark of respect, Tuesday’s NW league race has been postponed.
Mr Lynch was a member of St John Bosco GAC and was part of the team which won the 1996 Down Intermediate Championship.
He was also the Down captain when the county won the Ulster U21 Championship in 1984 and played for the Down senior team until 1988.
Since Mr Lynch’s diagnosis, numerous fundraising events have been held in the community, including one last July when footballing stars from Down and Armagh came together in a Legends4Lyncho day.
In a post on his Facebook page in October, he thanked the community for their support and said, “Our lives have been turned upside down by this disgusting disease”.
He added: “I am getting weaker each day physically. Mentally I have been to some dark places but you will make a difference in my life that I can’t thank you enough.
“Tomorrow I’ll keep going because the people and area I come from over this last year has been truly on a different level.”