EMERGING ON TO the provincial stage after a county title win may often breed unfamiliarity.
Sunday marks the first venture by Kilmacud Crokes into the Leinster senior football club championships since 2010. Their recent victory in the Dublin decider, a game defined by the attacking exhibition produced by Paul Mannion, ended an eight-year wait for a provincial football campaign.
For Robbie Brennan, joint manager of Kilmacud Crokes with Johnny Magee, their opening assignment in Leinster does not mark a step into alien territory.
Sunday’s quarter-final opponents in Navan are St Peter’s Dunboyne, recently crowned champions in Meath for the first time in 13 years.
Two decades ago Brennan was celebrating as a player with Kilmacud Crokes as they claimed county honours before taking on St Peter’s Dunboyne in a Leinster quarter-final. The Dublin champions won out that day by 2-7 to 1-9 in Páirc Tailteann with Brennan scoring a point from full-forward.
In 2005 the clubs met again in a Leinster quarter-final at the Navan venue. Brennan again lined out at full-forward but this time was in the Dunboyne colours after a Meath title victory. They were powerless to repel a Kilmacud Crokes side who ran out comprehensive 1-14 to 0-3 winners.
Last December Brennan was installed at the helm of Kilmacud with Magee and they have helped mastermind the club’s eighth Dublin senior football title. That victory brings him into opposition with a familiar outfit.
He’s also married to the sister of Dunboyne’s David Gallagher, a long-standing pillar of their club teams who has the distinction of being part of Meath county senior glories in three different decades after this season’s victory.
In 1998 Gallagher was in goal against Kilmacud while he started centre-back in the 2005 meeting between the clubs. Johnny Magee featured in both of those games in Kilmacud colours while the 2005 tie included current selector Paul Griffin and corner-forward Pat Burke, the solitary playing survivor and the scorer of a crucial goal in the recent county final.
With four Leinster and two All-Ireland titles lifted by the club since 1995, the expectations will be high ahead of Kilmacud’s journey outside of their county boundaries.
Dublin clubs have won ten of the last 15 Leinster senior club football crowns while in contrast Meath’s last success at this level came courtesy of Dunshaughlin back in 2002.
St Peter’s enter this game on the back of an emphatic Leinster opening victory over Wexford’s Shelmaliers but must plan without key attacker Donal Lenihan who has gone travelling since the county final win.
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