Mike Quirke and Diarmuid Murphy share eight All-Ireland titles between them as players but have their sights set on another Celtic cross this Sunday.

This time they won't be contributing on the pitch, but from the side-line, Jack O’Connor’s trusted lieutenants composing a plan to win Sam Maguire back for Kerry for the first time since 2014.

Murphy has been here before - he was part of Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s coaching staff before he left and was replaced by Peter Keane.

"It's been six years since I was last involved," said Murphy. "There have been a good few changes since then but the main thing is you’re still dealing with a very committed bunch of players, the same as we had in 2016. From that side some things don’t change."

Quirke took his first steps as a bainisteoir in Laois, but stepped down in 2021. Now, he has been reunited with his old team-mate Murphy and former boss O’Connor. Paddy Tally is another major cog in the Kerry coaching wheel.

Playing alongside the Ó Sé brothers, Paul Galvin, Kieran Donaghy, Colm Cooper and Declan O’Sullivan and the likes, Quirke knows all about team spirit. The togetherness of the squad then is as important as it is now.

"One of the most pleasing things for me the last day after Dublin when Seanie (O’Shea) kicked that free, the first two guys that passed me out running onto the pitch were two guys who hadn’t made the panel."

"I remember they were Stefan (Okunbor) and Darragh Roche who hadn't made the 26. They were bursting out to hug guys and there’s a real sense of spirit about the group. That’s unusual but it's really pleasing"

Kerry and Galway, two of football’s traditionalists, will do battle this weekend. The last time they met in the showpiece event was the millenium final, which was initially drawn, 14 points a piece, before Kerry triumphed in the replay.

Tomas O'Se of Kerry in action against Tommy Joyce, right, and Derek Savage of Galway in the All-Ireland football final replay in 2000.

Galway have surprised many by reaching the final, but not Murphy.

"I think Galway have looked really good this year since they beat Mayo in the Connacht championship," he said.

"The All-Ireland quarter-final against Armagh, they were superb really, they probably should have won the game in normal time. They were probably disappointed it went as far as it did.

"They won their semi-final comfortably enough, so it’s not a big surprise to us to see Galway in the final. They have been very impressive this year."

Damien Comer came to life in the semi-final, notching 2-2, while Shane Walsh has been supremely accurate from placed balls. Rob Finnerty has chipped in now to become another key scoring asset and Kerry will have their work cut out to stop them.

"There are lots of people to be concerned about. Shane Walsh, (Damien) Comer, (Johnny) Heaney, they’ve a lot of guys that can really hurt you and we understand that," said Quirke. "You see the performance of (Cillian) McDaid, there are loads of players that can hurt you.

Shane Walsh secures possession under Kerry pressure in the Allianz National Football League Division One, May 15th 2021.

The midfield battle between David Moran, Diarmuid O’Connor and Paul Conroy and McDaid could be a clash of the titans. Murphy believes that this is where the game could be won and lost.

"The middle of the field will be very important, as it usually is, in terms of ball being kicked out. Possession there will be very important, it could go a long way to deciding the game."

Follow the All-Ireland Football Championship final on Sunday, Galway v Kerry, from 2pm via our live blogs on rte.ie/sport or on the RTÉ News app. Watch live coverage on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player with live radio commentary on RTÉ Radio 1