Patrick Conneely surges forward for Kildalkey with Conor Shirren of Kiltale in pursuit during the SHC game at Pairc Tailteann last month. Photo: David Mullen / www.quirke.ie

Trim can make the grade and advance

Forecasting the future is a precarious business at the best of times, but when it comes down to trying to gauge who is likely to come out on top in a SHC game between Kildalkey and Trim then the levels of uncertainty and unpredictability increase considerably.

Take two years ago, for example, the last time these two teams met in a SHC semi-final.

On that occasion Kildalkey were considered strong, if not red-hot favourites to win and proceed to the final.

Some might have seen the game as just a stop-off on Kildalkey's march into a big-day assignment with then reigning champions Kiltale.

What happened?

Trim overturned the odds, put in a big performance, full of conviction and won the day. Deservedly so.

Now here the two of them are back about to confront each other with a place in the final once more up for grabs - and that same question hangs there in the air.

Who is going to win?

Staring longer than usual into the crystal ball it has to be Trim.

There and clear and solid reasons for asserting why Trim can win.

There is the fact that they have considerable, very considerable, firepower. That was starkly, devastatingly evident, in their opening championship game against Killyon in Kildalkey.

Anybody who witnessed the way Trim, suddenly, upped the gears to simply blow Killyon out of the water couldn't fail to be impressed. There was nothing between the teams for much of the opening half.

If anything Killyon looked the more threatening and it took a brilliant save from Trim's netminder Charlie Ennis to keep them out.

Then just before the break. Bang! Trim slipped into another gear and worked three goals, one scored by Dimi Higgins and two from Brian Dowling in quick succession.

Suddenly the men in red were out of sight, disappearing into the sunset.

Next time out against Longwood, Trim showed another aspect of their considerable armoury - their ability to score points. They clocked up 24 against a team who are extremely well organised in defence.

The only downside for Trim is that they couldn't muster a goal and the fact they conceded 3-12 hints at a defensive fraility.

Trim have enjoyed considerable success at minor level in recent years; players are graduating into the senior ranks ensuring a level of youthful exuberance that augurs well for them, both for now and also well into the future.

Then they have the likes of more seasoned campaigners such as Alan Douglas and James Toher, although he limped out of last Saturday’s IFC semi-final victory over Kilmainham and looks to be a major doubt.

When Toher is absent from the team Trim are significantly diminished yet even without him they defeated Longwood with Douglas and the pacy Mikey Cole contributing 10 points between them. Eight Trim players contributed scores that day - an impressive spread.

One downside for Trim is that they haven't won a SHC title since 2001 and the longer that goes on the more weight will be on the players to end the drought.

Another question remains to be answered: Which Kildalkey team will show up for this one?

Will it be the side that sparkled and fizzed in the opening half against Kilmessan last time out or will it be the team that appeared tentative and uncertain in the second-half of that game?

Will it be the team that was resourceful and resilient in defeating Kiltale in round one or the team that was subdued and diminished in the second-half against Ratoath which they comprehensively lost?

Granted, Ratoath were simply awe-inspiring that day, the quality of their hurling, their discipline and organisation indeed impressive, but Kildalkey's collapse raised some questions about their overall consistency and their ability to hold their own when it’s put up to them.

It suggested a team that is somehow lacking the glint and glitter that helped them to the title last year.

In Paddy Conneely, Kildalkey have one of the most consistent free-takers around and a player well capable of taking scores from play.

Sean Heavey lobbed over two super points against Kilmessan that undermined just how dangerous he can be.

Nicky Potterton, Niall McNally, Brin Kelly, Luke Rickard, Kevin McKeon and Patrick Potterton are just some of the fine young hurlers in their ranks.

They too can torment opposition defences.

When they are on their game Kildalkey, who have the benefit of an extra game, can be a force of nature.

When they are not fully in the zone they can be caught.

Trim have the capability to land a big blow this time around - just as they did two years ago.

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