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Gormley eyeing future

By John Campbell

Antrim manager Jody Gormley has watched his side suffer back-to-back defeats to Tipperary and Waterford over the course of the past fortnight and knows for sure now that life in Division Four of the National League is a reality again next year.

Yet his honest assessment of his team's performances and his plea for self-analysis by his players could yet reap some benefits for the forthcoming Ulster championship against Cavan.

Instead of being involved in Sunday's Division Four final - their appearance was being widely predicted up until just recently - Gormley will take a passing interest in an Offaly v Tipperary clash that had looked an unlikely event for so long.

"It's never over until the fat lady sings - we certainly have learned that," muses Gormley.

Offaly topped Division Four on 13 points before being joined in their leap into Division Three by Tipperary.

Tipperary have already lost to Offaly and midlanders boss Pat Roe, who formerly managed Laois, is keen to see his side heap more misery on the Premier County in what should prove a lively battle.

Roe has made four changes to the side that lost to Clare last time out. Nigel Grennan replaces Shane Longeran in a defence which now features Shane Sullivan at full back and Paul McConway at centre back.

Alan McNamee returns to partner Ciaran McManus at midfield with Niall Smith moving to the '40' where Gary Comerford makes way. Pascal Kelleghan's inclusion on the left flank sees James Coughlan also dropping to the bench.

The fourth change is in the full forward line where Thomas Deehan replaces his Clara club colleague John O'Hara.

Meanwhile, Tipperary manager John Evans has dedicated his side's unexpected promotion from Division Four to the memory of the late Darrel Darcy.

Tipperary GAA was plunged into mourning earlier this month when the 20-year-old senior football panellist was tragically killed in a road accident.

"I told the lads at half-time to think of Darrel being with them and giving them a guiding hand," reveals Evans.

OFFALY:: P. Kelly; G. Rafferty, S. Sullivan, S. Brady; B. Darby, P. McConway, N. Grennan; C. McManus, A. McNamee; D. Egan, N. Smith, P. Keelaghan; T. Deehan, J. Reynolds, N. McNamee. Subs: B. Quinlan, R. Fox, J. O'Hara, J. Coughlan, G. Comerford, S. Lonergan, G. Grehan, N. Kelly, W. Mulhall, S. Ryan, R. Connor, A. Mulhall, J. Keane. K. Slattery.

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