By Conor Martin
Eight teams still dream of claiming the Go-Ahead Dublin Senior 1 Football title, as we reach the quarter-final stage this weekend.
Those eight clubs will know there will be no place for second chances, as knockout football comes into play.
Kilmacud Crokes and Ballymun Kickhams get the quarter-final action underway as they face off at Parnell Park on Saturday Afternoon (4.45pm).
Kilmacud recorded three wins from three as they won Group 2 and have looked impressive as they look to retain the Clerys Cup for a third year in a row.
Their opponents Ballymun finished second in Group 1. They secured their spot in the final eight with a win over Ballinteer St Johns in Round 3 of the group stages and will be looking to push on in search of a first title since 2020 after exiting the Championship last year at the group stage.
With a sizeable amount of Dublin Senior Football panel members including Dublin captain James McCarthy due to feature, this one is bound to catch the eye in what should be an exciting yet tense affair.
The second of the Saturday fixtures at Parnell Park sees Ballyboden St Endas take on Casteknock (6.45pm).
Just like last year, Ballyboden topped their group but this year went one better and recorded a 100% record in Group 1.
Ballyboden were beaten in the semi-finals last year and will be hoping to make an appearance in the semis once more in 2023. They know they have a tough task in front of them if they are to do so, but can call upon the likes of Ross McGarry to be a threat in attack. Castleknock equally have strength in attack including Ciarán Kilkenny, who on his day is a major threat to any defence.
On Sunday, St Judes take on Cuala at Parnell Park after winning Group 4 with three victories from three games.
St Judes have enjoyed an improved 2023 Championship after only picking up one win in the Championship and going out in the group stage in 2022.
Cuala qualified for the quarter-finals on the head to head rule after beating Thomas Davis and after going out at this stage last year they’ll want to go one better this year.
Raheny take on St Vincents in the last quarter-final and Raheny go into the game full of confidence, after putting seven goals past Lucan Sarsfields in their last group match.
While St Vincents, who won promotion from the Senior 2 Championship last season, will be equally confident after their dramatic comeback win against Na Fianna last time out in their winner takes all group game.
The no-second-chances mantra also applies to the fixtures in the relegation play-offs at O’Toole Park on Saturday.
All four teams finished bottom of their respective groups and the two winners of the play-offs will keep their Go-Ahead Dublin Senior 1 Football Championship status for 2024.
The losers will be relegated to the Go-Ahead Dublin Senior 2 Football Championship, with the two finalists of the Senior 2 Championship taking their places in Go-Ahead Dublin Senior 1 Football Championship next year.