Showtime for Rhode

THEY may have had to wait almost an extra two months more than expected but Rhode will finally get the chance to claim provincial glory this Sunday when they go head to head with arch rivals Kilmacud Crokes in Portlaoise in the Leinster Final.

THEY may have had to wait almost an extra two months more than expected but Rhode will finally get the chance to claim provincial glory this Sunday when they go head to head with arch rivals Kilmacud Crokes in Portlaoise in the Leinster Final.

The Village have been here twice before but on both previous occasions, their hopes were dashed in the decider.

In the 2008 final, Rhode were on the brink of glory but an inexplicable second-half collapse handed the victory to Kilmacud Crokes. This Sunday Tom Coffey's side have the chance to set the record straight.

The vast majority of the panel are available for selection this weekend and the memory of that defeat, and in particular the memory of the manner of that defeat, will no doubt prove to be a powerful motivator.

While the weather may have restricted training throughout much of December, Rhode have been busy in recent weeks playing a number of challenge matches.

The Offaly champions are a relatively young side but they have vast experience in their ranks with the majority having worn the county jersey at at least one level.

Defensively they are an excellent unit that work well collectively and as individuals. Alan McNamee and Mark Dunne form a strong partnership in midfield while the attacking unit has the ability to register a match winning score against any opposition.

A lot as always for Rhode will depend on Niall McNamee but if he the Offaly Senior Footballer of the Year is on his best form, he is as dangerous as any forward in the country.

One thing Rhode will need to do is to play for the full hour against a very talented team loaded with inter-county talent. If Rhode give Kilmacud and inch, the Dublin champions will take the proverbial mile.

The delay has helped Kilmacud in one way as Wexford's Adrian Morrissey, who would have missed the original game through suspension, will be available on Sunday.

From 1 to 15 and through to number 20, the Dublin side are stocked with talent and most pundits are tipping the 2009 Leinster and All Ireland champions to regain their provincial crown.

The bookies have Kilmacud as the odds on favourites to win the game with Rhode available at a very generous 5/2 considering the quality of their team.

Virtually every player on the Rhode team is a multiple county title winner across the grades from Minor to Under 21.

They know how to handle the pressure, they know how to win big games and they know they are good enough to win on Sunday.

They will need to be at the top of their game but they have it in their own hands to become only the fourth Offaly team to win the Leinster Club SFC title.