There is little doubt that both Crossmaglen and Dr Crokes expected to meet each other in the All-Ireland club final as they prepared to face their opponents in the semi-finals on Saturday.
How could they have thought any different, since practically everybody in the GAA world was taking such a result as being a certainty?
Both were seasoned campaigners, with Crossmaglen touted as 'the invincibles' in their showdown with St Brigid's, while Colm Cooper was expected to carry Crokes team to the final – at Ballymun Kickhams' expense – almost on his own.
However, all the predictions were blown away like a puff of smoke, thus proving yet again that the greatest attraction of sport all over the world is its unpredictability.
Crossmaglen were undoubtedly the major losers. They have developed an aura of power and majesty that I have seldom seen in Gaelic football, other than when Mick O'Dwyer's great Kerry team were in the ascendancy.
Cross are regularly described as the best club team of all time and their methodology of the past 20 years is seen as a prototype for all other club sides. Indeed, at the recent National Coaching Conference at Croke Park, club members gave a presentation on the methods used by Crossmaglen to retain their pre-eminent position.
Yet, despite their undoubted brilliance in this period, there had been tell-tale signs that power was slipping away from the Armagh champions.
In last year's drawn All-Ireland final they could easily have been beaten by Westmeath's Garrycastle and, even though they stormed through Armagh as usual in 2012, they did find the going tougher than in previous years in the Ulster club campaign.
Crossmaglen must have been forewarned about how risky Saturday's assignment in Mullingar was going to be, because in recent meetings with Roscommon champions St Brigid's, the winning margin was only three points. But it was the arrival of new St Brigid's manager Kevin McStay in 2012 that should have really alerted Crossmaglen – because he has shown himself to be a lot more than just a pretty face on 'The Sunday Game' championship panel.
With a lot of experience and plenty of coaching expertise, McStay, alongside Liam McHale, set about mentally preparing St Brigid's for the task of facing Crossmaglen.
In the 2011 All-Ireland final Brigid's were like innocents abroad as they tried to deal with Crossmaglen and, while their dedication and ability was never in doubt, they always seemed to be unduly influenced by the reputation of the Ulster side.
Clearly, a lot of time and effort was put into preparing the Brigid's players on this occasion, with particular emphasis placed on not being 'psyched out' by the black and amber shirts.
Granted, they got off to a great start with that early goal from Frankie Dolan – with the aid of a deflection – but it was obvious that every Brigid's player was prepared to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their opponents and were prepared to battle to the death for victory.
That courage and mental strength won it for them in the end and, unlike former times, it was Crossmaglen's opponents who created and scored the winning goal with four minutes left.
Brigid's then kept their heads sufficiently to frustrate Crossmaglen from grasping yet another victory from the jaws of defeat, as they have done so often in the past.
Dr Crokes were really terrible for a lot of their game with Ballymun and were often outclassed. Their plans never seemed to have got off the ground and, when you see a forward of Cooper's ability forced to play a lot of the time far away from the opponents' goal, you are watching a team in serious disarray.
It promises to be a great final with each team looking for a first success. Certainly, the Dublin kingpins are sure to provide a whole new set of problems for the Roscommon club.