As the wait continues in relation to formal confirmation of the overall fixtures schedule for this year, former Ballinderry All-Ireland club winner Conleith Gilligan has been provided with considerable food for thought.
It was in 2002 that Gilligan underpinned a Ballinderry attack that rose to the occasion to claim the biggest prize in club football by beating Cork and Munster champions Nemo Rangers in the final.
Now, almost two decades later, Gilligan, a business development manager with the Kerry Group, is preparing to plot more success but in a rather different environment.
As No.2 to Mickey Moran in the Kilcoo camp, Gilligan has already helped to oversee success in Down and Ulster, but the All-Ireland club title has so far remained an unattainable goal.
But while the flame of ambition still burns brightly within the homely Kilcoo club in the heart of the Mournes, realism garnishes the overall outlook as the wait continues for the start of the playing season.
Gilligan, who made a huge impact in Derry's colours as well as distinguishing himself with Ballinderry, acknowledges that Kilcoo will be "tested to the full" to win another Down title this year, while Ulster and All-Ireland honours for the moment must remain on a rather more distant horizon.
"It was disappointing that the Ulster and All-Ireland club championships could not be played last year but, given the very difficult circumstances in which we all found ourselves, that was totally understandable," reflects Gilligan.
"I would love to a see a situation in which all competitions can be played this year, and hopefully with provision made for the attendance of spectators further along the line."
Two years ago, Galway and Connacht champions Corofin beat Kilcoo after extra-time in an All-Ireland club final in which the Down side had made an encouraging start before losing their way.
But while success at national level is still coveted, Gilligan makes it clear that he sees Kilcoo facing into increased pressure in their bid to retain the Down title.
"When you look at it, teams like Warrenpoint, Carryduff and Burren have been coming through strongly," he adds.
"Jim McCorry will now be keen to make an impact with Burren and Stephen Poacher will be anxious to make his mark with Bryansford, so I think the Down championship will be very open this year."
He noted Ederney's feat in winning the Fermanagh title after a 52-year hiatus and the accomplishment of Dungannon Clarkes in ending a 64-year famine by winning the Tyrone crown last year.
"It was great to see teams like these coming though and adding a whole new dimension to the Ulster scene," maintains Gilligan.
"It was a huge disappointment that the Ulster club championship did not take place because I think that teams like these in particular would have relished the opportunity to participate in it.
"But we must not lose sight of the fact that there really has not been much between a handful of sides in the Down championship in recent years. It's going to be a lot harder to win this time round."
With the pandemic having ruled out collective training to date, Gilligan feels that teams will be starting "at something like a similar level" and explains: "I don't think any county wants to see one particular club dominating all the time. I think it's good to see other teams coming through. But if a team is at the top, it wants to stay there."
With county championships run off over an eight-to-10-week period last year, Gilligan sees possibility in a repeat.
"I think the various county championships generated their own momentum and, with the games played within a limited period of time, it meant that followers were able to keep abreast of things better," he says.
"It was straight knockout championship football across the board and that will be the case again this year."