THE long road begins. The journey ended in Croke Park only a couple of months ago.
BALLYMUN KICKHAMS v ROUND TOWER Clondalkin
(Tonight, Parnell Park, 8.30)
Ballymun would love to be back in next year's St Patrick's Day parade. But as they know well, the bounce of the ball doesn't come with any guarantees.
Winning Dublin is the first order of business. And sometimes, that's the tallest order of all. Ballymun's climb back towards the summit begins against the Tower of Clondalkin, who are celebrating their 50th year in senior football. They have been residents ever since they beat Scoil Uí Chonaill in the Intermediate play-off final in 1963.
It took Ballymun more than 25 years to win back the biggest prize in Dublin football. They have endured so much semi-final heartache.
Their march to county gold had everybody talking. Curraner's Colts brought such panache to the stage.
They had such tempo in their play. And they were super-fit. Their ball movement from deep defence to attack took a team's breath away.
And now they'll endeavour to find that same spark and show again the hard work that is the bread and butter of champions. Tower will provide a decent test. They have won two and lost two in Division 2. They beat Skerries Harps and Trinity Gaels.
They came close to securing promotion back to Division 1 last winter. Ian Ward, Derek Murray, Stephen Halpin and Ciaran Corrigan have helped to keep the Hoops spinning.
Ballymun have quality all over the shop. Deano Rock (left) is their 'kicking king'. His class significantly helped bridge that gap of more than a quarter of a century, and he was building more bridges for the county a couple of weeks ago.
VERDICT: Ballymun Kickhams