Former Donegal footballer Brendan Devenney has lamented Derry's struggles in the League after they were relegated to Division 4 just four years after contesting the Division 1 final against Dublin.

The Ulster side suffered the drop at the weekend following the results in the last round of league games, including their 3-11 to 2-12 defeat to Sligo.

Derry also crashed out of Division 2 last year, but managed to end their Championship on an encouraging note when they battled well against Mayo in the qualifiers, before bowing out in extra-time.

But slipping down to the bottom division is a blow for the county, and speaking on 2FM's Game On, Devenney said the situation illustrates the gulf in strength between the strong and weak counties in Gaelic Football.

"Scary times for football I think with the big teams and the small teams," he said.

"There's a lot of things you need in place for a team to be successful. You need the right personnel, the manager, the county board has to be behind you but the county has to be behind you.

"The county hasn't been behind Derry for some time now and even though they've unbelievable clubs there and players and the history that they have, once things start to go bad like that, you lose that type of momentum.

"How many fans travelled to that game from Derry yesterday? It would have been a minimal amount. You look at Donegal, the crowd that was at Ballybofey, the interest that's there, that's driving the team on.

"Once that type of passion and interest goes, a team can drop down and it's a real fear for a lot of those sides now that are outside the top 10."

Devenney added that it is difficult for players in lower division teams to compete with those playing for stronger counties, who have a more realistic chance of contesting for the bigger prizes throughout the season.

"They can get up in the morning, go to the gym before work because they know they have to do it. For the other teams outside that, how do they catch up? It's such a difficult ask.

"It's such a shame for Derry to go that far down. The League - much like Donegal - you get what you put in. Derry haven't been good enough and Division 4 at this point is where they deserve to be."