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Offaly’s loss to Tipperary leaves them on the threshold of relegation to Division 4. Another defeat could condemn them to the bottom tier if Leitrim overcome Tiperrary. On the other hand, Derry earned themselves a slim shot at promotion by beating Longford. Two points from round 7 could leave them second if Down are shocked by Louth. Offaly vs Derry is at 2pm on Sunday.
The rust was evident in Offaly as they returned to action last weekend. They never played to their potential against Tipperary and were left chasing the game for much of the 7 minutes.
Yet, only a goal separated the teams. John Maughan will be disappointed with the result. But, there were encouraging signs in the performance and if he can get the best out of his team this weekend they will be safe.
On the other hand, Derry hit the ground running. They were patient and precise against a defensive Longford. Two goals went a long way towards the win. The first was a demonstration of good patient play before choosing when to strike.
Furthermore, Conor Glass came off the bench for Rory Gallagher’s side after returning from the AFL. Even if they fail to get promoted, Derry have reason to be optimistic about the Championship.
This year the championship is a straight knock-out format. Therefore, Maughan’s task in Leinster is an incomparable one. So, he may not reserve any of his strongest options for the game against Carlow on November 1st. Instead, remaining in Division 3 could be given priority and he’ll throw everything at this game.
Somewhat similarly, Derry open their Championship the week after this game. Despite having a strong Armagh side as their opponents, Gallagher will be hopeful about his team’s chances. As a result, he may opt to experiment against Offaly while he still can.
Prediction: Offaly. This will be a dogfight and despite the lack of fans, Offaly have the home advantage. They had a rude awakening against Tipperary that they will be keen to put right. Whereas Derry already have one eye on the Championship.
Offaly (Derry): Paddy Dunican; Declan Hogan, Eoin Rigney, Niall Darby; Eoin Carroll, John Moloney, Joseph O’Connor; Aaron Leavy, Jordan Hayes; Shane Horan, Ruairi McNamee, Cathal Mangan; Cian Farrell, Peter Cunningham, Bernard Allen.
Derry (Offaly): Odhran Lynch; Paul McNeill, Brendan Rogers, Conor McCluskey; Ethan Doherty, Christopher McKaigue, Padraig McGrogan; Ciaran McFaul, Conor Glass; Danny Tallon, Enda Lynn, Padraig Cassidy; Paul Cassidy, Shane McGuigan, Niall Loughlin.
Subs: Conlann Bradley, Conor Doherty, Carlus McWilliams, Oisin McWilliams, Michael McEvoy, Gavin O’Neill, Patrick Kearney, Emmett Bradley, Shea Downey, Niall Toner, Ben McCarron.
Offaly vs Derry: Division 3, Sunday October 25th, 2pm (O’Connor Park).
— The GAA (@officialgaa) October 20, 2020