Those with a passion for local soccer will warmly welcome the return of a fully fledged Castlebar Celtic side to the Mayo Super League. While they did have a second string team in the competition while the club was participating in the League of Ireland A championship for the past two years, the series did not have the same
Such an assessment should not in any way undermine the achievement of Ballina Town, winners of the title for the past two seasons. Town played with style and flair, always committed to attacking football.
Before Celtic opted for A championship football in 2009, they found it hard to win the Super League. In fact, they only won it twice since the concept was introduced in 1999.
Westport United have been the real kings of the Super League, lifting the crown five times in 12 seasons.
The other recipients since 1999, apart from Ballina Town and Celtic, were Manulla, the inaugural winners, Straide & Foxford United (2000) and Iorras Aontaithe (2003).
In terms of Mayo League championship wins since the foundation of the Mayo Association Football League in 1954, Celtic and Westport United are by far the most successful clubs with 16 titles apiece, 12 ahead of second placed Manulla with four titles to their credit.
The roll of honour is completed by Ballina Town, Ballyglass, Straide & Foxford (three each), Balla, Sporting Club Westport, Urlaur United (two each), Achill Rovers, Iorras Aontaithe, Quay Hearts and Westport Crusaders (one each).
Celtic's return to top flight Mayo football will renew rivalries with many of those clubs, most notably Westport United. The two clubs have a unique sporting relationship which appeals hugely to followers of the game in both towns.
The move, of course, places a huge sense of expectation on Celtic's shoulders. They will automatically be ranked as favourites to win the crown before a ball is kicked and that kind of pressure does not always suit players.
But if Celtic can bring to the Mayo game some of the finer qualities they learned at a higher level, it will lift the standard immensely.
Regulars at A championship fixtures at Celtic Park could not but be impressed by the pace and intensity at which games were played.
Here's hoping the 2011 Super League will be remembered as a watershed season in the sport's development.