TWO neighbouring parishes in north Kerry are in the grip of GAA excitement this week as their clubs prepare to contest Munster finals.
Bunting is out and support is at an all-time high in Ballyduff and Finuge/Lixnaw this week ahead of the big games. Ballyduff take on Tipp side Silvermines in Thurles on Saturday in the Munster Intermediate Club Hurling Championship final. Finuge, meanwhile, are to meet Cork team St Vincent's in Mallow on Sunday in the Munster Intermediate Football final.
The match represents a Holy Grail for Ballyduff as they have achieved the exceptional result of getting this far two years in a row.
"If we win, the celebrations will be incredible," Ballyduff PRO Katie McCabe told The Kerryman. "It's an amazing achievement for the lads and the colour and atmosphere in Ballyduff is amazing! There will be a huge crowd going up on Saturday.
"We will hopefully do it this year. The hunger among the players is certainly there after coming so close last year."
Finuge, whose hurling side Lixnaw were co-incidentally put out of the running for the hurling Munster title by Ballyduff in the Kerry county final, are equally hungry.
In Scoil Mhuire de Lourdes - the past primary school of Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice and star Paul Galvin - the youngsters are behind the team all the way.
Local club stalwart and principal John McAuliffe said the team's achievements are already 'unique' at club level. "About five of them have county novice, county junior, All-Ireland junior and county intermediate medals as well as county senior medals with Feale Rangers," Mr McAuliffe said.
"All but one or two are dual players playing hurling with Lixnaw and have won several minor, under-21 and senior medals in the last decade. They are an extraordinary bunch of lads and there's a great buzz in the community here now ahead of the final!"
The Lixnaw schoolboys are certainly getting behind their team every bit of the way with the school festooned in colour.
The scene is almost exactly the same in Sliabh a'Mhadra NS in Ballyduff where star players Aidan and Liam Boyle's children attend.
"The excitement here is unreal and the children are all delighted," Principal Breda O'Dwyer said.
"We've lots of connections with the team, through students and staff, so it is little wonder the atmosphere is so colourful ahead of the big game. We wish all the lads the very best of luck on the day," Ms O'Dwyer added.