Home advantage the key for Derry.
Byline: David Jennings with his best bets for today's Ulster SFC showdown
DOWN gained promotion to the top flight of the league but there was a fine line between promotion and relegation in Division 2 this year and they were fortunate to reach the decider.
Although Derry went in the other direction and dropped from Division 1 down to Division 2, they should benefit from playing the top teams this spring and Brian McIver's men are taken to progress to the next round of the Ulster championship. Indeed, it could be more straightforward than most people are anticipating.
This Down team are an accident waiting to happen and that accident could happen this afternoon at Celtic Park where Derry are always a formidable force.
It could prove a blessing in disguise that Derry dropped to Division 2 as they will be far more competitive against teams like Meath, Galway and Cavan rather than tackling Derry, Deongal and Kerry every week and it may be that McIver wasn't too downbeat about relegation.
Derry looked a team who were concentrating on championship matters in the latter stages of the league as McIver constantly tried out new stock to see what they were worth.
Home advantage can be the catalyst for a Derry victory today. Neither side hold serious aspirations for Ulster honours as Donegal and Monaghan remain ahead of the pack in the province but Derry could surprise a few people this summer and victory today combined with a prolonged stay in the qualifiers is how their season could pan out.
Down haven't replaced the likes of Benny Coulter and Marty Clarke and they could struggle. If Derry get on top early in the second half, they could kick clear.
Recommendations Derry -2 3pts 7-5 BoyleSports Derry to win by seven, eight or nine points 0.5pt 8-1 Boyle
Derry manager Brian McIver can engineer a big win today