Eight wins and one draw from nine fixtures ensured Athenry were crowned worthy Western Hygiene Supplies premier division champions.
For manager Seamie Crowe it was a hugely successful return to local action as Athenry’s cocktail of emerging and established players delivered.
“It is as good a blend as I've seen in a long time,” Crowe says. “We got a couple of lads in which every team has to be doing. You have got to be recruiting another couple of lads every year, adding to the squad, keeping it fresh.
“Over the last couple of years we have been building, Davy Crimmins did an unreal job last year getting the lads to the semi-final of the FAI Junior Cup.
“He had built a really good squad which I inherited. There is a lovely blend of experience and youth. You have young lads coming through from underage now, who are starting to come into their own which is brilliant to see.”
Crowe praised the determination of the Athenry squad. “It was a funny year for everyone with everything that has been going on for the last number of years,” he adds.
“Everyone, including myself, was just delighted to get back playing, to get back out on the pitch. In fairness to our lads, they really embraced it, they came back in super shape. It stood to them then obviously getting the league title.
“When we got them back we had two or three hard sessions. Straightaway Mark Moran and I realised that they didn't need to be ran anymore, we got the footballs out, every session we did before the start of the season was with a ball. It was all just games, games, games.
“They were tough, we had big pitches with not a lot of lads on them so there was lots of running in it. You could see when it came to the games we were winning games, the games that were tight, we were winning them because we were fitter. Plus on top of that our lads are well able to play ball too.”
Crowe is adamant that the strength of the junior game in Galway is increasing once again. “I think when I started playing first it was very strong,” Crowe replies.
“When I came back I remember playing Hibs up in Bohermore, there must have been 1,000 people watching the match. It was crazy, it was really popular. Then it dipped off for a few years when the A Leagues came in, a lot of good lads from Salthill and Mervue went into that. It dipped a little bit for a while, but it definitely seems to be coming back again.
“I watched a couple of games this year with Salthill, in particular, it was quality games - as good junior games I've seen in a long time with a lot of very good players on the pitch. You have to keep moving on, trying to get better.
“I have to give all the credit to our players, they have been absolutely fantastic since we came back with their attitude and the way they have applied themselves during the lockdown.”