Preview: Offaly and Derry Battle For Division Three Glory

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The Offaly and Derry footballers will contest the National Football League Division Three final this weekend, as announced Monday.

The final will be held at Croke Park on Saturday, 19th June at 5:00 pm.

It will be the only National Football League final played before the Championship begins, unless there are any changes.

The fixture will be part of the Government’s pilot testing programme and 2,400 spectators will benefit from that.

Analysis

The two sides have already earned promotions to Division Two after their impressive seasons in Division Three North and South respectively.

Derry capped off an impressive second league campaign under former Fermanagh boss Rory Gallagher with a win over Limerick.

Offaly completed the same feat with their victory over Fermanagh.

Derry will come into the game as favourites after dominating Division Three North, registering a points difference of +41 over their four games.

Their defending has looked well-instructed and orderly.

Furthermore, the pace of Ethan and Conor Doherty troubled opposition defences and will be something to keep an eye on this weekend.

Full-forward Shane McGuigan will be another threat that the Offaly defence will have to deal with.

A 2-26 (32) haul in his first four games of 2021 paints a picture of a man on a mission.

Half-forward Niall Loughlin offers a quality second option for Derry in the final third.

Derry’s blistering attack will go up against an Offaly defence that allowed 59 points across their four games.

Prone to error, the Offaly backs will have their work cut out for them if they are to contain the Derry forwards.

Their lapses in concentration against sides such as Wicklow are examples of the holes Derry can expose on Saturday evening.

Joe Maher and veteran Niall McNamee are serviceable scoring options for Faithful County.

The latter has been Offaly’s go-to off the bench and has got some important scores for the side.

However, Offaly’s chances are more reliant on their defence’s concentration.

They could find it to be a step too far against a Derry side firing on all cylinders.

Prediction: Derry by 5.

Odds

Derry 2/5

Draw 8/1

Offaly 5/2

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