Now that their first season as an intermediate club has reached its conclusion, the Willow Park management duo of Declan Holohan and David McGuinness can reflect upon the major achievement of promotion from Senior Division 1B Sunday, following an unexpected twist of footballing events.
Believed to be assured of promotion some time ago, the DPD Park based club were informed that due to an issue with a divisional rival also striving for promotion they would need to annex a point from their remaining league fixture to achieve their start of season goal.
That they did with a home win over Kilbarrack to whom Willow had suffered an away defeat in January, one of only five league losses in a twenty six game season.
Speaking this week to the Athlone Advertiser, joint manager, David McGuinness, exhalted much relief following the season's conclusion and promotion secured.
"We believed that we had secured promotion a number of weeks ago, but were then informed, that due to matters on field elsewhere, we would need to attain at least a point from our final home fixture against Kilbarrack.
"This game arrived swiftly after a disappointing loss to St. Francis, a result which ensured that we could not win the league title, so the players had to refocus their minds with promotion now once again very much on the line," David remarked.
Injury effected, Willow Park were without the services of key players, Mark Nicholson and Joseph Offorjama against Kilbarrack, but with a managed to produce a solid and confident display to seal the much sought after win.
"We did really well and probably produced one of our better performances of the season. We were a goal up after two minutes and never looked back. I think that result was fully deserved. We had beaten every team in the league and managed to remain unbeaten at home for the whole season which wasn't easy given the standard of opposition," David added.
Now in the close season, the management and squad is looking forward to a momentary pause from matters on field before returning to pre-season training as the footballing minds sharpen their focus once again.
"So now we take a break for a couple of months, which is badly needed. We will regroup in six weeks or so and hopefully by then, we will have added a few fresh faces around the place for next season," David concluded.