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McErlain will be hoping Derry can keep momentum ahead of decider


Title goal: Damian McErlain
Title goal: Damian McErlain
John Campbell

By John Campbell

It was always felt that when Derry got their Slaughtneil contingent back on board they would perhaps push on and regain lost credibility on the inter-county scene.

Ahead of Saturday's last scheduled Division Four tie against Wexford at Owenbeg (2pm), manager Damian McErlain may be somewhat reluctant to dole out individual honours, yet there is no doubt that the Slaughtneil faces currently peppering his line-up are making an ongoing impact.

In last weekend's win over Leitrim, the first of two contests between the sides this month with the divisional final to come on Saturday week at Croke Park, Shane McGuigan and Padraig Cassidy proved the latest players to emphasise the Slaughtneil factor to the Oak Leaf side.

McGuigan, currently in red-hot form, helped himself to 2-5 while Cassidy was introduced at half-time to shore up the central area in Derry's handsome 2-16 to 1-12 win.

His team may already have secured promotion to Division Three and been cast in the role of favourites to lift the Division Four title, but you won't find McErlain taking his eye off the ball, both literally and metaphorically.

He may well have Saturday week's league decider at the back of his mind but he will continue to assess how players like Conor McCluskey, Eoghan Concannon, Niall Keenan, Jason Rocks and Chrissy Bradley in particular perform.

McErlain's bold selection policy has brought its own rewards now that promotion has been clinched, and thoughts are veering towards the Ulster Championship, but Derry's appearances at Headquarters are rare so the manager will want to see his side impress against a Leitrim outfit that has been revitalised by ex-Cavan boss Terry Hyland.

Wexford have nothing to lose on Saturday but it can be safely assumed they would prefer to be going into the game with everything to gain.

Belfast Telegraph


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