TWO Divisions might separate Saturday's Junior Final opponents, but County League positions won't mean too much come the final whistle should Na Gaeil pull off a shock victory in Fitzgerald Stadium in this long overdue encounter.
The Tralee club are starting to step out as a force in the county town following the ir Novice triumph in 2010, but even the most optimistic Na Gaeil member could not have predicted that they would be contesting arguably the biggest game since in such a short space of time. The club's rise is down to a strong underage development, best illustrated in the role Jack Barry ( below) and Darragh Carmody played in their dramatic win over St Pats in last May's semi-final to put them on the brink of a fairytale win.
Kenmare's appearance is expected, but it hasn't been for the lack of underachievement down through the recent past and while they are the big favourites in advance they cannot be sure of anything until they are presented with the cup afterwards.
While Pau l O'Connor will be looking to redeem himself at the venue of his moment of madness in the district colours two weeks ago, Kenmare are no longer a one player threat as Stephen O'Brien, Sean O'Leary and Mark Crowley have really stepped out in the last couple of years which gives many the belief that Kenmare will finally get some county silverware this weekend.
The five and a half month wait has been the same for both sides, but you wonder have Na Gaeil (as the underdogs) lost the momentum from their three hard fought wins in getting here – the Ballyduff and Tuosist ones being done in quite dramatic fashion – can they produce the same energy and vigour they did back then?
Eamon O'Neill, Mikey Griffin and Declan Doody will give them a solid base, but staying in the game for as long as possible will be the main thing for the Tralee side in their hope to pull off an upset. Their opponents have been plying their trade against more seasoned opposition all year however. If Kenmare settle early and their forwards get on top, it's hard to see anything other than a victory for the Shamrocks given their more established position in the pecking order of Kerry Football but the longer the result remains uncertain, the more a chance Na Gaeil have of defying the odds. Verdict It's hard to remember the last time there was such a vast contrast between two teams in the final of a graded competition, but Kenmare have flattered to deceive so often in the past that they will not treat Na Gaeil lightly in any way this Saturday. Will come down to whether experience and craft will triumph over youthful endeavour but the Division Two should finally come out of their slumber at the final whistle.