Derry look set to have the final say against Offaly in Croke Park decider

Offaly’s decision to play Division 3 decider a week out from championship well received

Allianz Football League Division 3 final: Derry v Offaly, Croke Park, Saturday, 5pm – Live TG4

John Maughan’s old-school enthusiasm to play for the divisional title in Croke Park just a week out from their championship start against Louth was a source of good cheer around the place.

You can see his point. Injury can never be guarded against in training any more than in matches and a lively encounter like this is good preparation given that they and Derry are hardly likely to be killing each other.

The big prize, as Maughan noted, has been promotion back to Division 2 for the first time in 15 years and that in itself is a season’s achievement.

Derry have at last stirred themselves and are back in the top half of the league after four years. They have been impressive so far. No team in the league has conceded fewer scores whereas only Kerry and Mayo have scored more.

Rory Gallagher is thought likely to rotate the team a bit after a consistent enough selection policy but they have some high-quality footballers in Shane McGuigan and Conor Glass, which gives them an edge against an Offaly team that has tightened up at the back but can struggle to turn possession into scores.

Verdict: Derry