Derry await Westmeath challenge

WHILE Derry look to be safe enough on five points, with the final game of the National Football League Division Two looming, they will need to take something from their trip to Westmeath on Sunday to be sure of keeping their status.

A few unexpected results could upset things but with four teams below them on four points and two with a worse scoring average they may not have a lot of worries apart from the never ending injury saga.

Every game seems to bring further injuries and with this being the last game before the Ulster championship John Brennan would probably have liked to have had his best fifteen available but that is not the case.

Definitely out are Gerard O’Kane, Michael Bateson and Mark Craig while Dermot McBride, Barry McGoldrick, Michael Friel and Eoin Bradley are verging on being match fit again.

The likely return of Eoin Bradley after being out since last July with a cruciate ligament injury is a big boost to the attack. While he may not start the game he is likely to be introduced at some stage.

Currently Paddy Bradley and Conleth Gilligan have been in excellent form in attack, in the drawn game against Louth the hit thirteen points between them. However there is a doubt about the availability of Gilligan and he would be a big loss. They had that game in the bag with ten minutes to go but blew a four point lead and could well have lost at the end due to some needless fouls being given away.

Westmeath suffered a 3-23 to 1-13 hammering away to Kildare in their last game but they did show a lot more with home wins against Galway and Monaghan this despite being without the Garrycastle contingent who lost to Crossmaglen in the replayed All Ireland club final last Saturday. Given their poor showing it is unlikely that any of their players would be in form to take up the offer from manager Pat Flannigan to turn out for this game which has their division two status at stake.

Monaghan travel to Tyrone and Meath meet Louth in the other two crunch games. Louth and Westmeath look in most danger of going down but with head to head and scoring difference coming in nothing will be decided until 4pm on Sunday.