Prolific Cork forward Luke Connolly.
Prolific Cork forward Luke Connolly.

Preview: Allianz Football League Division Three

Allianz Football League Division Three

Sunday March 1

Louth v Leitrim, Gaelic Grounds, 2pm

Cork v Derry, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 2pm

Longford v Tipperary, Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, 2pm

Offaly v Down, Bord Na Mona O'Connor Park, 2.30pm

By Cian O'Connell

Luke Connolly's smooth opportunism at Semple Stadium last Saturday edged Cork closer to promotion.

Cork are currently three points ahead of Longford, Derry, Offaly, and Down.

Ultimately it means Sunday's encounter Leeside against Derry promises to be revealing, but Ronan McCarthy will be satisfied with how his emerging and established performers are moving.

Shane McGuigan has been in prolific scoring form for Derry, who are beginning to acquire confidence and momentum.

Derry should relish the opportunity to test themselves against a Cork team that showed good resolve to overcome Tipperary in Thurles.

That was a cruel loss for David Power's team, who now face a tricky test against Longford.

Offaly's highly rated forward Bernard Allen.
Offaly's highly rated forward Bernard Allen.

Division Three remains a most interesting and open environment as the results continue to fluctuate.

Down just about did enough to beat Longford last Saturday, but they know a trip to Tullamore for a game with Offaly will be an awkward assignment.

Bernard Allen scored well for Offaly, who proved too strong for Leitrim at Avantcard Pairc Sean MacDiarmada.

John Maughan's team lost to Cork on the opening weekend, but they have accumulated five points from the next three fixtures.

Avoiding the drop is Louth and Leitrim's objective so their clash at the Gaelic Grounds matters hugely.

Whoever prevails in that encounter will enter the remaining two rounds armed with hope and a drop of confidence.

The team that loses, though, will be under severe pressure so it is a match with important implications.

DERRY (v Cork): Odhran Lynch; Padraig McGrogan, Brendan Rogers, Carlus McWilliams; Shea Downey, Chrissy McKaigue, Niall Keenan; Ciaran McFaul, Padraig Cassidy; Emmett Bradley, Niall Loughlin, Danny Tallon; Benny Herron, Shane McGuigan, Niall Toner.

TIPPERARY (v Longford): Evan Comerford; Alan Campbell, John Meagher, Tadhg Fitzgerald; Kevin Fahey, Robbie Kiely, Bill Maher; Steven O'Brien, Conal Kennedy; Emmet Moloney, Jack Kennedy, Brian Fox; Conor Sweeney, Sean O'Connor, Riain Quigley.