Saturday could bring history to Kilmacud Crokes.

While the Stillorgan giants have been regular winners in the Dublin championship since the early 1990s, they will have a chance to join St Vincent's on seven Leinster titles with a victory over Naas at Croke Park.

Considering the historic dominance of the Marino men in the capital, it would be a huge achievement for Crokes, who still have a good bit of catching up to do when it comes to county titles.

All things going well, Shane Cunningham - the senior captain - would be raising the Andy Merrigan Cup on the steps of the Hogan Stand come January. A fourth All-Ireland title would make Crokes the most successful Dublin club ever.

But there's a lot of football to be played before then, and Naas - as well as potentially the Connacht, Munster and Ulster champions - will be aiming to stop the Crokes juggernaut in its tracks.

With Mick Dillon and Johnny Magee having captained Crokes to All-Ireland glory in 1995 and 2009 respectively, Cunningham also has the chance to create a unique piece of history as the only skipper of a side from the club to win more than one All-Ireland.

Naas captain Eoin Doyle with his Kilmacud Crokes counterpart Shane Cunningham

But all of that, according to the man who is a Garda by profession, is a million miles away from his thoughts as they prepare to return to Croke Park to face the Kildare champions.

"Personally, I wouldn't look at it like that," he says of trying to do back-to-back All-Irelands.

"It's definitely not that stuff. As long as I'm playing for Kilmacud I'll always be motivated to give everything. I don't know if that's just who I am, or that I love playing for the club. It was always a dream of mine to just play with the club at senior level and now that I'm a part of it, even if we are not winning things, I will always give 100%.

"The fear of failure motivates me, not just in football. Not achieving the things you want to achieve. When you come back, starting every year, you see younger guys coming in and you think, he's going to be pushing me.

"The fear of not starting would push you on. Or the fear of not playing well in a game, of not playing well in front of your friends and family and [manager] Robbie [Brennan].

"From a team perspective there's always an ambition to go back and try to achieve things [again]. A back-to-back All-Ireland would be special but it's really not something we focus on.

"Robbie is all about the next game and that's no different for Naas on Saturday."

Cunningham also acknowledges that some big final defeats help to keep the fires burning.

Crokes were shocked by Mullinalaghta in the Leinster final five years ago, while they also lost the 2021 All-Ireland final to Down's Kilcoo when Jerome Johnston's late goal in extra time broke their hearts.

"We have had our successes, but we have also had some painful days, like Mullinalaghta and Kilcoo," he continues. "The bit of pain drives you on as well."

Robbie Brennan, right, and captain Shane Cunningham enjoy the Dublin final win over Ballyboden

"The Kilcoo one will always hurt, no doubt about it, but definitely the way we performed in the first half of extra-time, you'd be really proud. Lads came on in that game who hadn't played too much all year and performed really well, so I thought we gave a really good account of ourselves.

"Looking at the Mullinalaghta one, they were a good side and the better team on the day but I still don’t think we gave a good account of ourselves, and that’s probably why it hurts a bit more.

"Having won the All-Ireland doesn’t make it any less…" Cunningham pauses for a moment before adding, "well, maybe it does, but it will always definitely always be there in the back of your mind."

Crokes have continued their 2023 journey without Michael Mullin, Cillian O'Shea and Conor Casey, who are all travelling.

But Cunningham has been happy with how the squad has adapted and feels that the belief Crokes have in themselves makes them harder to beat than they might have been five years ago.

"I really embrace the last 10 or 15 minutes of games," he points out.

"Prior to that, you might be a little apprehensive about it, but the last 10, 15 minutes of games, if it's tight, we know the strength we have on our bench.

"We look forward to it when it’s tight. I think that’s throughout the team."

Watch the Leinster Club Football final, Kilmacud Crokes (Dublin) v Naas (Kildare), on Saturday from 2pm on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player and listen to updates on Saturday Sport on RTÉ Radio 1