Kieran Gavin, seen here in action for Westmeath against Wicklow's Leighton Glynn. Gavin is captain of the Mullingar Shamrocks team which faces Garrycastle in the Westmeath SFC final this Sunday.
Mullingar Shamrocks captain Kieran Gavin is hoping that it will be third time lucky when his side come up against Garrycastle in this Sunday's Westmeath SFC final at Cusack Park (throw-in: 3.45pm).
In last season's decider it looked as if Shamrocks were going to exact revenge for defeat to Garrycastle in the 2010 final, only for Anthony Cunningham's charges to score a last minute point to level the scores and force a replay, which they won after a stirring second half performance.
Fast forward 12 months and Gavin says that after three final defeats in the past five years - Shamrocks also lost the 2007 decider - him and his team-mates are confident that they can bring the cup back to Mullingar for the first time since 2000.
However, to do so, they will have to beat a team that he believes will be remembered for decades to come.
"We've been in three of the last five finals. It is about time that we stepped up and won one but it will be a tough task. Garrycastle have won the Leinster and three Westmeath titles and are the best club team that Westmeath has ever produced. We are probably a little unfortunate that we are there at the same time as them, but there is no point in feeling sorry for ourselves."
Many neutrals have observed that Garrycastle's exertions over the past three years and, last season in particular - when they became the first Westmeath to claim the Leinster club title - have taken their toll and they are not as strong as they once were, but Gavin disagrees.
"People say they haven't looked good but they have been cruising through games. They are just a quality team with leaders right through the team."
He also rejects the idea that Garrycastle's five week break since their semi-final victory over Maryland will mean that the team from Athlone will be ring rusty come Sunday.
"Last year their season went up to the first week in April and those few extra weeks off may have been a blessing in disguise for them."
Shamrock's path to a third successive county final has been far from smooth, something which their young captain readily admits.
"We have been struggling all year - lost two games in the group stage. After the Maryland game we said that we have four games to go if we are going to turn our season around and hopefully we can win the fourth one and claim the county title."
After a bruising semi-final encounter with rivals St Loman's that went to two games, Gavin says that his side are in good shape physically and have been going well in training in recent weeks.
While he acknowledges that Shamrocks will start Sunday's game as underdogs, he believes they are better equipped than ever to end Garrycastle's reign.
"Scores are now coming from all over the park. Last year we relied on Lorcan (Smyth) too much. We have also introduced a few new players such as Paddy Joyce and Seanie Daly who have been great. Finals are there to be won and we have to go out and do it on Sunday."