Day of destiny at Dalymount Park
Dalymount Park has witnessed plenty of cup final drama down through the years and tomorrow afternoon the players of Crumlin United and Avondale United will be looking to write their own bit of history at the famous old ground as they battle it out for the FAI Intermediate Cup.
Crumlin, holders of the trophy, take on the 'Dale, one of only five teams ever to retain the Pat O'Brien Cup, in what is set to be a sensational showdown -- but this final is much more than that.
It's Cork v Dublin, it's Leinster v Munster and, most of all, it's for the glory of being tagged the best team in Ireland.
The Dublin side has enjoyed the label of Intermediate Cup holders, so much so that they fancy holding onto it for another year as they look to join that short list of clubs that have retained this trophy.
Avondale know what retaining this cup is all about.
They were the first Cork side to win back-to-back titles as they put their name to that short list of five with wins in 2006 and 2007 when they joined Distillery, St Patrick's Athletic, Bluebell United and Home Farm.
Tomorrow, though, is a new chapter in this competition's remarkable story.
This is going to be a final of contrasting styles. Crumlin's movement and slick first-time passing style will be tempered by the 'Dale's strong and direct approach.
The Cork side, though, have plenty of players at the sharp end of their attack capable of winning a game, with the likes of David Spratt and Mark O'Sullivan, who netted the decisive goal in the semi-final against Tolka Rovers.
The Dublin side will be more than happy to exploit the wide-open expanses of the Dalymount Park pitch.
Crumlin have plenty of width, pace and passing ability in their squad and their sharp pace and movement will cause the more rigid backline of Avondale plenty of trouble.
Last Sunday Crumlin claimed their first trophy of a possible five when they defeated Dublin Bus in the Cahill Cup, and they followed that up with a midweek win against Mount Merrion in the Senior Division to stretch their lead to 10 points.
The Dublin side will be hoping it is a case of another Sunday, another trophy, as they keep their 'drive for five' alive.
The Road To Dalymount . . .
After avoiding the first round thanks to a bye, Crumlin finally got a chance to flex their muscles in this season's competition when they dismantled Skerries Town by seven goals to nil.
Broadford Rovers provided the holders with a tougher challenge in round three, with Crumlin coming out on top by a single goal to nil, while Glenville were pushed aside by four goals to nil in the last 16.
The quarter-finals were a repeat of last season's final as Crumlin headed up to the Red Cow to take on Bluebell United.
After 90 tempestuous minutes a nine-man Crumlin managed to force a replay. The second game was similar to last season's final in both score and quality as United ran out three goals to two winners.
Rockmount were dismissed in the last four by two goals to nil as Crumlin marched back to the final.
Just like Crumlin, Avondale picked up a bye into the second round where they met and beat Passage by three goals to one on home soil.
Another home draw in round three and Everton were sent through the Inter Cup exit door by a couple of goals to nil, while UCC were defeated by a single goal to nil.
In the last eight, Avondale were finally sent on the road as they drew Fanad United and the Cork giants duly dumped the Donegal men out by the odd goal in three.
Tolka Rovers provided a stubborn nut to crack in the last four, but the 'Dale managed to get by the Dubliners by two goals to nil after a replay following a scoreless draw in Cork.
Tomorrow they head back inside the Pale looking to repeat the dose.