KILDARE'S recent hoodoo sign over the Royals will count for nothing in Croke Park on Sunday week, insists Johnny Doyle, who claims Meath are at their most dangerous with their backs to the wall.
These implacable foes warmed up for their latest collision - a Leinster semi-final date on July 1 - with emphatic weekend victories.
But whereas Kildare's 13-point cruise past Offaly stretched their unbeaten run to seven games, Meath's 15-point replay rout of Carlow was the high point, to date, of a rollercoaster 2012.
Seamus McEnaney's embattled troops have endured relegation to Division Three and a shock draw with Carlow just a week ago. This erratic form, coupled with a record of five straight defeats to Kildare, explains their underdog status.
Not that Doyle is taking solace in that. "Meath are Meath," warned the Kildare captain. "They're really, really dangerous when their back is to the wall. They started the league very well and didn't finish it as strong as they would have liked. They'll be hunting for blood.
"They had a very convincing win (against Carlow) and we're going to have to up it another notch if we're going to compete with them."
Doyle also downplayed the significance of Kildare's recent record against Meath. "Regardless of what you do yesterday, that doesn't matter. You have to play football in the now," he maintained.
"Just because we beat them the last couple of times, does that mean it's going to have any bearing on the match? Without a doubt it's not. We just have to make sure that we take this game and play to our strengths and try to cut out mistakes and hopefully that'll be enough. We're going to have to be at our very best," he concluded.