There is a lot more on offer other than silverware as Bohemians and St Patrick's Athletic come face-to-face in the final of this year’s FAI Cup.
For Bohemians, victory will bring with it the prestige and prize money of European football in 2022, having missed out on an automatic place by finishing fifth in the league.
For St Pat’s, European football was already secured following their fine second-place finish in the Premier Division table, so a win against the Dublin rivals will bring belief to the club that they are back among the contenders in the League of Ireland and will act as a springboard to begin their title challenge on the front foot next season.
The Inchicore side last won the league in 2013 and secured the FAI Cup the following season, breaking a 53-year hoodoo since their last success, so while their fans have hardly been starved of success – they also won the League Cup in 2015 and 2016 – the club has been undergoing a rebuilding phase over the last few seasons.
And it must be said that the current Saints regime, guided by a young, stylish manager in Stephen O’Donnell, and emphasising the importance of giving youth its chance as a result of a strong underage structure, mirrors, to a certain extent, what is going on down the Luas line at Shamrock Rovers.
The Hoops have now won back-to-back league titles having established themselves as the best team in the country. However, their FAI Cup final success in 2019 was certainly one of the most important aspects in terms of instilling belief in the players to dethrone Dundalk as the league’s kingpins.
The Saints' season has been long wound down, since falling too far off Rovers in the table, and while that could suggest that it will be harder for the team to get up for this one-off encounter, the progress over the past 12 months would suggest that O’Donnell will have the team primed and will treat it as the beginning of the new campaign.
Bohemians, on the other hand, are dealing with that unnerving situation where certain players are not signed up for the new season and it could prove an unwelcome distraction ahead of the final.
However, the entire squad knows the significance of what is on offer and having experienced some great European nights during the summer, while also playing on the hallowed turf of Lansdowne Road, they should be extra-motivated to ensure that there is plenty to look forward to next season.
Keith Long’s side have rightly received praise in recent seasons for their ability to compete in the top half of the table while working on a smaller budget than some of their competitors.
This season, however, questions must be asked as to how the team could not manage to finish higher than fifth place, with the manager admitting during the week that his side "dropped a lot of points from winning positions late in games".
You only have to look at the results that the Gypsies conjured up against arch rivals and league champions Rovers, combined with the performances on the European stage against quality opposition, to wonder how they were not able to at least compete for a top-three finish.
Long’s side certainly contain the quality to go and win the game with some of the league’s most exciting players in action, such as Ross Tierney, Dawson Devoy, Andy Lyons and Liam Burt.
They also have a wealth of experience in the side with players like Keith Buckley, Rob Cornwall and Ireland call-up James Talbot in goal, who will ensure that the occasion does not get to the younger players.
The Dublin 7 side will look to recall those summer nights to inspire them to success on Sunday, however, there will be a completely different atmosphere with the stadium expected to be up to 80% full – 8,000 was the most allowed for the European games.
The Gypsies also have to contend with the fact that Long is suspended from the sideline for the big game and while the team will be well-drilled, it will again be something that will cause some distraction, especially if the game remains on a knife-edge late in the contest.
St Pat’s will have to be the more confident of the two sides going into the game believing that if they perform to their best, they will have too much for Bohs.
O’Donnell has managed to blend youth and experience throughout the season, while his team is certainly more experienced in the big-game situation with the likes of Robbie Benson, Chris Forrester, Ian Bermingham and Shane Griffin all enjoying cup success in recent years.
Others such as Vitezslav Jaros, Sam Bone, Lee Desmond, Jamie Lennon and Billy King have performed consistently throughout the campaign and the fact that there is no pressure regarding European football is also a bonus for O’Donnell’s charges.
For the neutral, the romance of the FAI Cup is very much alive with over 36,000 tickets already sold several days out from the final, and there is a chance that there could be a record crowd.
For the supporters of the Gypsies and the Saints, there is no other day like it on the calendar, and it will create memories of joy, heartache, and indeed the entire spectrum of emotions, while the many neutrals among the League of Ireland family will look on with a touch of envy, while enjoying the spectacle of the rollercoaster ride that is happening all around them.
But these big occasions call for big players to stand up, and it is no surprise to see that two of the three player of the year nominations will be in action at the Aviva.
Georgie Kelly could well be playing his last match for Bohemians and will be looking to sign off in style, while Chris Forrester will be hoping he can summon the fine form that he has shown throughout the campaign.
The head suggests that in one-off encounters, Bohemians seem to know how to rise to the occasion and could just edge this one to save their season.
Follow Bohemians v St Pat's on Sunday via our liveblog on RTÉ.ie/sport and the RTÉ News app, watch live on RTÉ 2 and the RTÉ Player or listen to live commentary on RTÉ Radio 1's Sunday Sport, kick-off 4pm