In normal circumstances, Derry’s chances of trimming Galway’s sails in Salthill would be deemed slender.
But with a plethora of quality players missing from their attack the Oak Leaf side look destined to incur a sixth successive National League defeat at the hands of Joe Kernan’s men on Sunday.
It may be mathematically possible for Derry to escape relegation but now only the equivalent of a sporting miracle will keep Damian Cassidy’s side in Division One.
And Galway are highly unlikely to be in benevolent mood.
Several fringe players will be given their chance to impress Kernan now that his team’s tenure in the top tier has been extended.
The Bradley brothers Paddy and Eoin, James Kielt and Declan Mullan look set to be absent from the Derry attack and even though Galway will be without Seanie Armstrong and Michael Meehan, their resources up front are such that the Oak Leaf rearguard can expect a torrid test.
A win against Galway, while unlikely to stave off the reality of relegation, would provide a welcome tonic and foster the belief that the Championship might offer a pathway to better things.
l ULSTER sides find themselves immersed in vital National Football League promotion and relegation battles this weekend. The permutations in some cases are many and varied as the last round of fixtures takes place.
Division One: Derry virtually doomed to relegation and likely to be joined by either Tyrone or Monaghan.
Division Two: Down already promoted and certain to be joined by either Donegal or Armagh. Tipperary and Westmeath already relegated.
Division Three: Antrim already promoted and likely to be joined by Sligo. Fermanagh and Roscommon already relegated to Division Four.
Division Four: Two from Clare, Waterford or Limerick to get promotion to Division Three.