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Derry and Louth commit to playing 'dead rubber' Division 3 fixtures


Derry football manager Rory Gallagher. Photo: Sportsfile

Derry football manager Rory Gallagher. Photo: Sportsfile

Derry football manager Rory Gallagher. Photo: Sportsfile

Derry and Louth have both committed to fulfilling their remaining Allianz NFL Division 3 games that have effectively become 'dead rubbers' this weekend after Longford's withdrawal from their game with Cork.

Longford's decision to forfeit their home game against Cork in Glennon Brothers Pearse Park ensures that Down are now promoted to Division Two. Their head-to-head win over Derry guarantees that, should they both finish on nine points.

Derry are due to play Offaly in Bord na Mona O'Connor Park in Tullamore at the same time as Louth host Down in Dowdallshill.

Neither game can now have an impact on promotion or relegation in the division as Offaly are also secure in Division Three for another year, courtesy of their advantageous scoring difference on their head-to-heads with Tipperary and Leitrim, should all three finish on five points. For that to happen Leitrim would have to beat Tipperary and Offaly would have to lose to Derry.

Derry had a remote chance of promotion which was based on Louth turning over Down for the second successive year in the last round and Longford beating Cork.

In that scenario, Down, Derry and Longford would all have finished on nine points but score difference in the games between these three counties would then apply, giving Derry the advantage thanks to their eight-point win over Longford on Saturday.

Derry manager Rory Gallagher has committed to fulfilling the fixture, despite the absence of anything meaningful at stake now.

"We thought that Cork (already promoted) might have sent up a weakened team to Longford and that Longford had a decent chance but that's their choice," said Gallagher.

"Our intention is to go to Offaly. I was very keen earlier in the year that the league should be finished. I wanted it played out and that doesn't change now. It's the right thing to do to go," said Gallagher whose team will undertake an eight-hour round trip on the same day on two buses this Sunday for a 2pm throw-in.

"We want the games, we want to get more game time into these players," said Gallagher, ahead of their Ulster Championship with Armagh on the following Sunday in Celtic Park.

Longford and Louth meet in the Leinster Championship first round on the following weekend but Louth are intent on playing despite being relegated, county board secretary Bob Doheny confirmed.

Leitrim's home game with Tipperary in Avantcard Pairc Sean MacDiarmuida on Sunday now becomes a relegation playoff.

Leitrim have to win the game by six points, based on the score difference in the head-to-heads between themselves, Offaly and Tipperary if they were all to finish on five points.

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