Opportunity knocks again for Trim
They are still there, still seeking redemption after losing last year's final against Nobber and on Saturday at Pairc Tailteann, 3.30pm Trim will take a major step towards making up for that bitter setback when they face Kilmainham.
It's hardly surprising that Trim are back in the semi-finals. They have, after all, been widely recognised as one of the best teams in the intermediate grade ever since they dropped down from the senior ranks in 2011 yet they have fallen short, time and again. Can they put that right this time around?
Arguably the most surprising aspect of this fixture is that Kilmainham are Trim's opponents.
That's not to disrespect Kilmainham in any way, but few would have predicted at the start of the championship that they would be still very much in the running now as we approach the final straight with the finishing post in sight. After all they didn't do too well last year becoming embroiled in a relegation battle to retain their status.
Yet Kilmainham have not only earned their place in the last four this time around they have done with style and a sprinkle of flamboyance. They guaranteed their place after just two group games with victories over Blackhall Gaels (2-10 to 1-11) and Dunderry (2-11 to 0-15).
Trim, of course, will have formulated their own plan to contain Kilmainham's marquee player Mickey Newman who appears to have shaken off a hip injury that hampered him earlier in the year to put in big performances - and chalk up big scores.
He hit 1-6, two frees, against Blackhall Gaels including a sensational goal. Yet there are others around him that can also punish opponents such as captain Seanie Mahon and Dylan Morgan, who bagged 1-5 (two frees) in the victory over Dunderry. Harry Newman, and Richie Brady are other key players for the red and blacks.
Manager Martin McGovern has clearly got the team playing with confidence and a panache, but on Saturday they come up against Brendan Murphy's Trim outfit who are an efficient, well-drilled unit. A unit who have their own match winners in the likes of the effervescent Aaron Lynch, who has the ability to ransack an opposition defence if given half a chance.
Eoin O'Connor, Robert Bourke and Mark Molloy are others in the Trim contingent who are well capable of translating chances into scores. Trim can draw also on the experience and strength of players such as James Toher, Alan Douglas and Ciaran Joyce. It makes for a powerful cocktail.
In their group games Trim kicked some big scores - 2-15 against Drumbaragh, 3-8 in the opening round victory over Rathkenny and 2-14 the last time out against Bective. That too augurs well for them.
The fact that Trim are still looking to end their exile from the senior ranks gives an indication of just how difficult it is to win the IFC. They looked like they would end their exile last year but didn't - and there's no guarantee it will happen for them this time around either - but on Saturday they should at least secure their place back in the final. Verdict - Trim.
THE STORY SO FAR
First round - Trim 3-8, Rathkenny 0-10; second round - Trim 2-15, Drumbaragh 1-8; third round - Trim 2-14, Bective 0-10.
First round - Kilmainham 2-11, Dunderry 0-15; second round - Kilmainham 2-11, Blackhall Gaels 1-12; third round - Kilmainham w/o, Castletown scr.