IT'S 'only' January and 'only' the O'Byrne Cup, but a midweek joust with the old enemy under lights in Navan should blow any lingering cobwebs in the Louth and Meath camps to smithereens on Wednesday night.
If the northeast rivalry wasn't bitter enough already, the Leinster final debacle of 2010 and Louth's sweet revenge mission last April are sure to add even more spice to the occasion.
And with rookie managers Aidan O'Rourke and Mick O'Dowd sampling their first taste of derby warfare as managers, the faint-hearted should maybe stay at home.
Perhaps with one eye on this early-season grudge match, both bosses fielded experimental line-ups in their opening games last weekend as Louth saw off UCD and Meath secured a twopoint win over Longford in Ballymahon, but with derby pride at stake and the winners set to move into pole position for a place in the semi-finals, expect to see a few more big guns rolled out for this one.
From Louth's point of view, Sunday's win came without some seasoned regulars, such as Paddy Keenan, Ray Finnegan, Mick Fanning, Declan Byrne, Shane Lennon and Derek Maguire.
Understandably, O'Rourke is committed to giving everyone a decent chance to impress in a gruelling eight-day schedule, but if he's going to name anything close to his best team in any of the three group games, this would surely be the clash he has earmarked to show a little more of his hand.
For those that did feature on Sunday, it will be a nervous couple of days as, despite recent history, chances to face Meath don't come around all that often.
After an impressive outing at wingback on Sunday Adrian Reid is hoping to hang on to the number seven jersey and he conceded this is a game everyone will want to play in.
'It's good to renew the old rivalry so early in the year and we're looking forward to it,' he says. 'We've such a big panel at the minute, but everyone will be looking to get a run out in that one. We always want to get one over the old foes - there's always a great rivalry between the two teams.
'Playing under lights will add to the occasion I suppose and Pairc Tailteann is a quality pitch, so we're looking forward to it.'
Lining out in defence is a relatively new challenge for Reid - at inter-county level at least - but his pace, power and ability to launch attacks make him a very real option for the role in O'Rourke's eyes.
'I can't speak for the manager, but I've been tried there for a few trial matches and I'm enjoying it. It's a different position and I still have a lot to learn - I made some basic errors today - but so far so good.
'I've played most of my football with the county at wing forward, but I suppose they're very closely related - you maybe get more chances to get a shot in from wing back than wing forward though!'
Looking back on last Sunday's clash with UCD, Reid insisted it was just good to get the season up and running, while the win was an added bonus.
'We 've been training hard for the last few weeks so it's important to get off to the right start.
'We made a good few handling errors, but that's stuff that can be improved upon, it's probably just January football really. But it's early days and I wouldn't be reading too much into one game.
'Longford have come on in leaps and bounds under Glen Ryan and they've really become a force to be reckoned with in the last couple of years. It'll be a real test for us to see where we stand against Longford and Meath.'
The pre-season schedule may have been gruelling, but Reid wouldn't have it any other way and so far he's been impressed with the new manager. 'They were tough sessions, there's no doubt about it, but there's no point just going through the motions and just being there for the sake of it - if you're going to do it, you have to do it properly.
'It's early days yet, but the commitment from the players has been great. Everyone is really giving everything to the new regime and the new training.
'Aidan speaks very well and we know what we have to do when we go out on the pitch. He's a man who knows his stuff and we can only learn from him.'