FL Division 4 preview: Derry to keep it to script

January 24, 2019

Derry's Enda Lynn is chased by Tyrone's Frank Burns

Derry will be the name on everybody's lips when it comes to predicting the sides who will elevate themselves from Division 4.

They may be in the gutter but the Oak Leafers' underage and schools production line are strong and their club scene is full of quality meaning that a shot at the stars is not out of the question.

Last year marked the silver anniversary of the county's sole All-Ireland SFC success but what is often forgotten is that Celtic Park was once, in the words of Joe Brolly, "a citadel" - the county didn't lose a game there for seven and a half years leading up to June 2002.

They lost twice at home in last year's championship - once in the city and once in Dungiven - and once in the league so boss Damian McErlain may well target their three home games this time around.

They host Leitrim and Wexford in rounds six and seven and may well have promotion wrapped up by then if they find their stride early.

The latter two seem to represent the Ulster men's main opposition for the top two spots. Terry Hyland has taken charge in Leitrim and it would be a major surprise were he not to make them competitive at this level; certainly they showed against Mayo in the FBD League, for what it's worth, that they are on the right track and they have four home games.

After the halcyon days of the noughties, Wexford's stock has fallen. They won just one match in Division 3 last term, the final round against an already-promoted Armagh, but they are well capable of beating most teams in the lower grade.

Their opener against Hyland's charges in Carrick-On-Shannon on Sunday is a real four-pointer but if the Model men can get anything from it, they will feel they are in the box seat.

Their opponents in round two, Antrim, started promisingly last season but a careless draw against Leitrim and, ultimately, a loss by a goal to Carlow cost them. That said, they have a decent forward line and, again, would feel they are capable of taking points against anyone in this section.

London are on an upward curve in general but player turnover is always an issue and it is difficult to ascertain exactly where they are at.

As for Limerick, Waterford and Wicklow, it would be a major surprise if they featured in the promotion shake-up.

Winners: Derry 

Runners-up: Leitrim

Round 1 fixtures:

Saturday 26 January

Waterford v Wicklow, Fraher Field, 7pm

Sunday 27 January

Leitrim v Wexford, Pairc Sean MacDiarmada, 2pm
London v Limerick, McGovern Park, 2pm
Antrim v Derry, Corrigan Park, 2pm

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