CAN you believe it? Back to the future. History repeating itself. Deja vu all over again.
Can Kilmoyley finally get the Lixnaw monkey off their back? That's the big question ahead of this weekend's big one in Stack Park. The form lines are muddied. Very muddied.
Lixnaw started this championship really badly, yet have gradually improved. Kilmoyley started the championship like a house on fire, yet they took their time in seeing off what turned out to be a pretty medicore Abbeydorney side in the second round. And just how impressive was their victory over Crotta O'Neills in the first round? The Kilflynn side were nowhere near the side they were at the end of last year's championship.
Plenty of managers will tell you that you can only beat what's put in front of you so on that basis we must give Kilmoyley the benefit of the doubt. Taken in the round, they looked a good team, a young, energetic, hungry team with a nice sprinkling of experience, in their opening two games. One that should be capable of beating a Lixnaw side in transition?
You would certainly have thought so after Lixnaw's opening round defeat to Abbeydorney. Since then they've improved. They easily dealt with Crotta – no great shakes this year unfortunately – and then overcame a fancied and much improved St Brendans outfit in the quarter-finals earlier this month. They looked strong, they looked sharp, they looked hungry and their forwards seemed to be gaining in confidence.
They won that game without Mike Conway – who remains sidelined with a knee injury – without Pat Corridan – who is back in the fold this weekend – and had to deal with a first half injury to full-forward Stephen Power – he too is expected back in the fold for Saturday evening. That shows their incredible resilience and their inability to accept defeat. Qualities that will stand them in good stead against John O'Meara's injury free Kilmoyley side.
Lixnaw will need James Flaherty to continue his rejuvenation, will need Cillian Fitzmaurice to continue his fine form and hope that Ricky Heffernan can continue to belie his relative inexperience with another impressive display up front.
One would have to have faith in Lixnaw's defence and midfield to do the business, it's up front where the big question marks lie.
Kilmoyley look a well balanced side. James Godley and Tom Murnane anchor the two main defensive berths so there's no worries there. Up front the impression might be that maybe they're not as strong. How accurate is that? Not hugely. They've got the great Shane Brick, they've got Daniel Collins, they've got Andy McCarthy and Sean Maunsell is having a great campaign. James McCarthy provides ball winning ability at eleven – a battle between him and Lixnaw centreback Trevor McKenna might well be the key match-up.
Lixnaw have held the upper hand in this fixture for so long in championship that something has to give sooner rather than latter. Now is as good a time as any for Kilmoyley to end the hoodoo. They comprehensively defeated them in the North Kerry championship final and while we don't expect a victory of that order on Satuday we do expect the Lerrig men to triumph over their old foes for once and for all.