The fixing of the Division 3 football final for next Sunday evening (14 February) also confirms that the Mullingar Shamrocks second team has achieved promotion to the All County League Division 2. The significance of this should not be underestimated. Club members with longer memories than mine inform me that Shamrocks also played in the second division in the mid-1990s. This is an achievement that is unique to Shamrocks in Westmeath football and is positive proof of the strength in depth of football within the club. The club is doing an awful lot that is right; full credit to team manager Ned Moore and his selectors John Doran and Barry Maguire and the many players involved for delivering this singular achievement. The campaign began twelve months ago on 14 February 2015 with a 0-17 to 0-6 victory against Kilbeggan and was followed by a 2-11 to 0-7 win against St Lomans. The next two matches in Ballymore and Killucan provided the stand-out results and produced the wins that made promotion possible. On St Patrick’s Day, Ballymore were beaten (2-5 to 1-5) and three weeks later Killucan were bested by a single point (0-5 to 0-4). Such are the vagaries of the fixtures list in the world of the GAA that it was three months (4 July) before the next match was scheduled and on this occasion Moate All-Whites were the ungrateful guests in Springfield who left the venue with our unbeaten record in their pockets. The 2-8 to 1-10 loss was our only setback; three months later (17 October) we defeated The Downs (4-14 to 2-4) and then almost four months later (30 January 2016) we finished our campaign against Tyrrellspass (4-13 to 0-8). You can’t beat a regular programme of games to keep players interested and motivated. It will all be concluded next Sunday evening (on the first anniversary of the opening match) at 5.00 in Lakepoint Park, Mullingar when we play Ballymore in the final. Regardless of the result, promotion has been achieved. The challenge now is to retain the Division 2 status; it won’t be easy but the extra challenge should be hugely beneficial to the football education of our developing players.