AFTER flattering to deceive for so many years in failing to make it to a stage many expected of them, Kenmare are now in the Junior Final with a big sense of expectation of finally claiming some major success as a club.
Team selector Enda Crowley says it's a nice feeling in a way for the club to be involved competitively at this stage of the year.
"Usually the season would be more or less over for us at this time of year, but the lads have certainly got a reward for putting in a lot of hard work over the last three or four years," Crowley said.
He admits that a lot of water has flown under the bridge since their victory over Glenbeigh/Glencar in the semifinal back in May, but feels their has been a better focus over the summer months that there hasn't been in the past as a result of making it to Saturday's final.
"We were in contention in Division Two up until recently and it was probably a more active summer than we had in the past with Kerry going out early and a number of the lads getting extra games with the District in the County Championship but we would still have a good core of the team who have not played a lot of competitive football over the last six weeks or so. That would leave us a small bit short on match sharpness coming into the final," the Kenmare selector said.
Ian Crowley with a cruciate injury is the only injury absentee for Kenmare ahead of the Final and despite many making Kenmare the big favourites for this game, Crowley is respectful of the challenge Na Gaeil will present.
"Na Gaeil are a team we certainly are not familiar with given the different paths we've taken in the past. However they went down to Lauragh and beat Tuosist, something we know very well how hard it is to do and they certainly are a club on the rise with how they have performed over the last couple of years. People will point out the difference between the two teams in the County league, but any team on form in the league is capable of beating anyone on their day regardless of what division they are in," he said.
Crowley sees Saturday's battle being a classic case of whatever side wants it more.
"It's all about who can hold their nerves and take the scores when they are needed in a very simple way," the Kenmare selector said.
Lastly, after a long period of underachievement for the scenic football club, what would annexing the Junior title mean for them?
"It would be massive, we've been looking to win this for years and haven't got anywhere close so we're hopeful that this will be the year and that it will give a massive boost to the morale of the club.
"At the same time we're not taking anything for granted heading into the final."