Gaeltacht get the nod to advance past Marys
County IFC Semi-Final: St Marys v An Ghaeltacht, Sunday September 10, JP O'Sullivan Park, 2.30pm
It's the first time that two sides find themselves having to play each two weeks-in-a-row, but this isn't a replay as would typically be the case. Instead both sides finished off their County League campaigns against each other last Sunday - well the scheduled 11 game run anyway but both will have to face further league matches.
All thoughts of the league are on hold for now however with a place in the Intermediate decider on offer in Killorglin this Sunday.
Both clubs know all about playing in Croke Park, but for An Ghaeltacht it arguably belongs to a different generation, one that contains present management team members Marc Ó Sé and Dara Ó Cinnéide as this present side have designs on erasing the memories of last year's defeat to Templenoe at this stage.
They came within a blazing chance across the goalmouth of making the decider, but enter this year in better shape arguably with Division 1 football under their belts and a promising group of players a year older and a year wiser.
St Marys made it here without any fuss back in April, defeating Currow in a repeat of the 2013 final before getting the better of another St Kierans side in Castleisland Desmonds on home turf.
They will enter smarting somewhat from the 2-13 to 0-15 loss against Sunday's opposition, but will have the benefit of Bryan Sheehan back in their set-up for an extra week.
After last year's All-Ireland Intermediate win, there is still a good degree of experience around their ranks, but Denis Daly's injury along with Aidan Walsh's departure are setbacks they will have to overcome on Sunday.
An Ghaeltacht have their own concerns, Rob Ó Sé has not played for the club since June despite featuring for the Kerry Juniors as Caoimhín Ó Beaglaoich and Gearóid Mac an tSaoir are more long term concerns for the West Kerry club. Of more immediate concern will be both Sean Ó Gairbhia and PJ Mac Laimh who were taken off in the League game on Sunday.
An Ghaeltacht got the better of both Gneeveguilla and Ardfert to make it here, losses only to Crokes and Rathmore early in the campaign their only blemishes in winning nine top flight games this year.
St Marys only won four to find themselves in need of a play-off to try and stay there and, while they will be disappointed to have lost on home turf, they will know that no two games are ever the same.
An Ghaeltacht have experience of this situation before, they faced Currow in a County League game prior to an Intermediate quarter-final four years ago which they lost after winning the league match beforehand.
They are making the move to a new group of players well, however, and Tomas Ó Sé's availability is a big boost for them at the present time along with Marc Ó Sé playing the player / manager role and Brian Ó Beaglaoich there in defence to learn from the master.
St Marys arguably have the experience advantage going into this but you feel the hunger and strength in depth is with their opponents ahead of Sunday.
The South Kerry side will give it a ferocious effort, but they just don't appear to have the depth of previous years beyond the first fifteen when you see some of the graduates An Ghaeltacht have gained from the county and indeed Pobalscoil Corcha Dhuibhne underage success stories.
A better year in general sees the West Kerry side get the nod in advance.
Verdict: An Ghaeltacht