Secretary's Report - League Reports - Secretary's Report 2013/14
Secretary's Report 2013/14
It is with great pleasure that I reflect on an extraordinarily busy and challenging year for the League that many people will not forget in a hurry and I would encourage you to take the time to read through this Report and see the huge amount of activity that was undertaken throughout the year.
2013/2014 was a turbulent Season in many respects with incessant rainfall decimating a large part of our post-Christmas Playing Schedule. One of the most displeasing aspects of the previous twelve months was the unacceptable increase of on-field incidents which caused the abandonment of five matches during the Season.
But 2013/2014 was also another successful Season which was highlighted by significant achievements across the board particularly Strathroy Harps’ maiden Mercer League title and the innovative midweek Youth Division.
Fermanagh & Western Football continues to flourish through the continued contribution of outstanding people. It is an irrefutable fact that the League is supported admirably at all levels and we are truly fortunate for the contribution of all concerned.
The 2013/21014 Season began on Tuesday 12th August 2013 with the annual Kennedy Cup match and ended some two hundred and eighty nine days later with the Reserve Division 2 League Cup Final. During this period the League provided Football for thirty-three Clubs and sixty-eight Teams divided into seven Divisions. Six hundred and forty-seven matches were scheduled in eleven Competitions with one hundred and ninety-two matches having to be postponed on at least one occasion – a figure which included seventeen matches which were postponed because of Clubs’ involvement in Irish Football Association Cup Ties. In addition requests for ‘Free Dates’ were granted to fourteen Clubs.
Consequently a hectic end of Season playing schedule ensued for some Teams who, almost without exception, emerged with great credit by completing the rescheduled match programme with the minimum of fuss. Suggestions by a clairvoyant Manager and ‘an interested member of the public who reads newspapers’ that rescheduled matches were prepared to disadvantage Teams were both objectionable and ludicrous. Rescheduled matches are prepared on the basis of priorities that are designed to ensure the best possible balance of matches across all Divisions. It is much easier to take a cheap sideswipe in a compliant newspaper than seek an official explanation about a Team’s rescheduled match programme and it is an incontrovertible fact that no Team sought such an explanation!
In the past twelve months we introduced two new Competitions that were focused on increasing the number of matches for Teams in Reserve Division 2 and Reserve Division 3 but which put pressure on the human resources available to administer such events. This aspect will require analysis by the League’s Management Committee which will also need to debate what the primary objective of the Reserve Division League Cups should be and the philosophy behind their introduction. The Management Committee will also need to
consider what major restrictive participation changes are necessary if the Reserve Division League Cups are to become credible Competitions.
It is a matter of concern that a number of Clubs have again demonstrated their clear lack of understanding of League Rules and Competition Regulations and I would encourage all Clubs to thoroughly familiarise themselves with the Rules and Regulations so that future breaches of same can be minimised. In the past twelve months Clubs were fined, deducted points and dismissed from League Cup Competitions and I can assure all Clubs that the League has applied, and will continue to apply, the Rules fairly, consistently and without fear or favour.
A total of twenty-three matches were not played because of ‘failures to field’ and appropriate fines (ranging from £75.00 to £125.00) were imposed on those Teams that had forfeited the points for these matches to their opponents who had score-lines of 3-0 recorded in their favour in accordance with League Rules and FIFA Regulations. It is disconcerting to note that yet again one of these forfeitures was occasioned by a suspension being imposed on a Club by the Irish Football Association following its failure to pay a fine arising out of the accumulation of Disciplinary Reports.
Four Teams (Tummery Athletic, Irvinestown Wanderers, Fintona Swifts Reserves and Lisbellaw United III) were found guilty of having played ineligible Players in matches following the lodgement of Protests / Claim for Points by their opponents. In the first three cases the miscreants were fined £75.00 and the points for the matches were awarded to their opponents who also had score-lines of 3-0 recorded in their favour in accordance with League Rules and FIFA Regulations. Fintona Swifts Reserves were subsequently found guilty of having played ineligible players in another match and had three points deducted. In the latter case the miscreants were dismissed from the Reserve Division 2 League Cup Competition and fined £75.00.
Two Protests / Claims for Points were not proven while another one was not considered because it had not been submitted in accordance with Rules.
Fintona Swifts were found guilty of transgressing Registration Rules and were fined £75.00 as a consequence.
An unacceptable total of five matches were abandoned because of on-field incidents with resultant penalties as follows:
Derrychara United v Maguiresbridge (26.10.13) – Derrychara United were held largely responsible for the abandonment of the match and fined £200.00. The match was rescheduled and played at a neutral venue.
Lisnarick Reserves v Killen Rangers III (4.1.14) - Blame for an ‘incident’ which had taken place that had led to the ‘abandonment’ of the match could not be apportioned to either or both Teams because of the presence of conflicting verbal evidence and the absence of substantive objective evidence (a ‘bona fide’ Referee’s Report had not been received). Notwithstanding both Teams were severely warned as to the future conduct of their Players and the match was rescheduled.
Enniskillen Athletic v Omagh Hospitals (1.3.14) – Both Teams were held jointly responsible for the abandonment of the match and fined £200.00 each. The score (1-1) at the time of abandonment stood.
Derrychara United Reserves v Killen Rangers III (22.4.14) – Killen Rangers III were held solely responsible for the abandonment of the match and fined £300.00 having been previously severely warned as to the conduct of their Players. The score (5-4) at the time of abandonment stood.
Omagh Hospitals v Ardstraw Reserves (29.4.14) – Both Teams were held jointly responsible for the abandonment of the match and dismissed from the Division 3 League Cup Competition. Omagh Hospitals were fined £400.00 and Ardstraw Reserves were fined £200.00.
As always there has been allegations, controversies, drama, excitement, intrigue and thrills. And of course some entertaining and brilliant football along the way. There were a number of standout performances throughout the Divisions but pride of place must go to Strathroy Harps who became only the fourth Club to complete the Mercer Cup and Pete Keane Memorial Cup ‘Double’ and NFC Kesh who remained unbeaten as they clinched a second successive Championship.
We also pay tribute to our other Champion Teams - Magheraveely, Tummery Athletic Reserves and Killen Rangers III - on their achievements as well as to all those Teams that won promotion – St Patricks, Enniskillen Athletic, Dunbreen Rovers Reserves and Strule United Reserves.
Mercer Cup (Division 1) For many years now the Fermanagh & Western has been defined by the ‘top two‘ – Enniskillen Town United and Lisbellaw United and the 2013/2014 campaign will be remembered as the Season when their nine year stranglehold on the Mercer League title was ended by Strathroy Harps. Before the Season began many pundits were tipping the back-to-back Irish Junior Cup Winners to be Champions and a narrow 2-1 ‘away’ win over Fintona Swifts on the final weekend of their Season ensured them of a deserved first ever title although many will say that the title race effectively ended on 15th February when they recovered from a 2-0 deficit to share the spoils with the previous Season’s Champions in a clash that attracted a lot of unwarranted hype. There is no doubt that Strathroy Harps were worthy Champions – over a twenty match campaign there is no fluke in being the first to cross the line. Rather than being totally unexpected their success had been building for quite a while and their resolve was strengthened by a clarity of focus having exited the Irish Junior Cup and Mulhern Cup they recovered from a rare League defeat to show some outstanding form in the run-in.
Such has been the consistency and nigh-predictability of Enniskillen Town United’s recent successes that they will have been extremely disappointed with their second place finish. Once again they were phenomenally impressive with fourteen wins from twenty games and a massive seventy goals scored . . . . . . . and yet they’re not Champions!!
Beragh Swifts finished in a highly creditable third place – their highest ever position - and just ahead of Lisnaskea Rovers who found it easy to adapt to life back in the top tier having comfortably won the Division 2 title last Season. Both Teams were capable of beating the best of them on their day and their re-emergence as genuine forces in the local Game was welcomed by many. The challenge for both of them now is how to build from here.
Lisbellaw United’s fifth position would undoubtedly have been higher had they not been the League’s outstanding performer in the Irish Junior Cup but they will be frustrated with their fifth place finish – some fifteen points behind the new Champions.
Ten points adrift of Lisbellaw United and occupying a mid-table position were Enniskillen Rangers who struggled for any form of consistency as they stuttered and spluttered their way through another Season that had promised much but delivered little.
After their commendable third place finish twelve months previously much was also expected of Killen Rangers this term but unfortunately for them most of their time was spent in the nether regions and they shared seventh position with Tummery Athletic who comfortably reaffirmed their position as the Division’s longest serving Team.
Fintona Swifts and Dergview Reserves both had indeterminate campaigns but were never really in danger of relegation following the withdrawal of Strabane Athletic Reserves in late August which dictated that only one Team would be relegated and Shelbourne’s pre-Season’s trials and tribulations which threatened their very existence.
Not surprisingly Shelbourne had a nightmare campaign and one suspects that any other Club in the same situation would have imploded but such was the courage and determination of the Club’s Officials, Players and Supporters that they staggered to the end of the Season with their dignity intact. If there was a trophy for effort in the face of adversity there would only be one Winner!
Enda Love Cup (Division 2) NFC Kesh emulated the previous Champions’ feat in claiming a second successive Divisional title which secured a return to the Mercer League after an absence of five years. They clearly were the best Team in Division 2 over the course of the Season and had six points to spare over Runners-Up St Patricks. The North Fermanagh side racked up more wins than any other Team, scored the most goals and had the second best defensive record – fairly empirical proof of their dominance.
St Patricks briefly threatened in the second half of the Season but ultimately poor early Season form cost them the title although they comfortably achieved their aim of an immediate return to the top flight having twelve points to spare over third placed Derrychara United whose impressive start to the Season saw them harbouring aspirations of promotion. However an uninspiring period in December and January, during which they lost four matches, evaporated the Enniskillen side’s challenge although they recovered to attain their highest ever League position.
Fourth placed Enniskillen Santos never really threatened after losing half of their opening four matches and they finished fifteen points outside of the promotion places while the performances of Maguiresbridge in fifth position were also consistently inconsistent throughout.
Happiness is mid-table anonymity but not for Strule United who had higher aspirations than their third successive sixth place finish or Irvinestown Wanderers who hoped for an immediate return to the top flight but struggled to adapt to life outside Division 1 after relegation.
Lisnarick’s exploits in the Irish Junior Cup took their toll on their League form and although they never seemed likely relegation candidates they spent most of the Season hovering just above the drop zone.
West Tyrone sides Glebe United, Sion Mills Rec and Spamount Swifts conspired through inconsistency to keep the relegation battle alive until the final matches of the Season when a 2-1 victory over Lisnarick assured Spamount Swifts of another Season in Division 2 and Glebe United’s 4-0 victory over Sion Swifts Rec consigned their neighbours to another sojourn in Division 3.
Drumquin United found Division 2 football too hot to handle for the second time. No wins and seven draws meant an immediate return to the bottom tier after a traumatic and turbulent campaign.
Brendan Keogh Memorial Cup (Division 3) Magheraveely, in only their third Season, dominated Division 3 and their relentless consistency enabled them to clinch promotion with three matches remaining and the title with one match to spare. They were fully deserving of their Champions status having suffered only one defeat in their eighteen match campaign, scoring an impressive sixty-two goals along the way and finishing eight points clear of second placed Enniskillen Athletic.
The League’s newest Team recovered from a six points deficit to clinch promotion in their final match and can reflect on a highly successful debut Season.
Relegated Omagh Hospitals and Ardstraw Reserves both threatened for long periods but ultimately they could not last the pace and finished in third and fourth places respectively.
Orchard Farm continued their annual improvement and they finished in the top half of the Division for the first time since Season 2009/2010 - one place above Erne Rovers who
will be disheartened after narrowly missing out on promotion the previous Season.
For the second successive Season Fivemiletown United II amassed eighteen points and they finished just outside the bottom two places which were again occupied by Augher Stars and Mountjoy United Reserves.
Division 3 League Cup The credibility of the Division 3 League Cup was severely diminished by the non-entry of Augher Stars and Fivemiletown United, the withdrawal of Erne Rovers and the dismissals of Ardstraw Reserves and Omagh Hospitals. The Competition was once again played on a two-legged knockout basis and Mountjoy United Reserves defeated local rivals Dunbreen Rovers to reach the Final where they failed to deny Magheraveely, who had previously overcome the challenges of Enniskillen Athletic and Orchard Farm, their second trophy of the year.
Pete Keane Memorial Cup (Reserve Division 1) It was as you were in Reserve Division 1 as Strathroy Harps Reserves became only the third Team to retain the Pete Keane Memorial Cup and Lisbellaw United Reserves replicated their Runners-Up position of the previous Season following their 4-1 Play-Off victory over Killen Rangers after both Teams had amassed thirty-nine points.
Five points further back were the League’s only ever present Team Enniskillen Town United Reserves and recently promoted Lisnaskea Rovers Reserves – the former remarkably doubling their previous Season’s points tally.
Glebe United Reserves finished in an undistinguished mid-table position while Enniskillen Rangers Reserves’ efforts very much mirrored those of their First Team and they finished in a disappointing seventh position.
NFC Kesh Reserves staved off an immediate return to Reserve Division 2 at the expense of Beragh Swifts Reserves and Shelbourne Reserves whose only points were gained as a result of a walkover.
Robin Porter Memorial Cup (Reserve Division 2) Tummery Athletic Reserves ensured their stay in Reserve Division 2 would be brief by winning their first ever Reserve Division title. They had five points to spare over eventual Runners-Up Dunbreen Rovers Reserves who were promoted for the second consecutive Season while Omagh Hospitals Reserves’ hopes of a second consecutive promotion were thwarted by the narrowest of margins.
The remaining six places in the Division were an opposite reflection of the Teams’ finishing order last Season. Both Orchard Farm’s and Lisbellaw United III’s performances deserved top four and mid-table finishes respectively while Maguiresbridge Reserves had a second successive sixth place finish – one place ahead of Fintona Swifts Reserves whose Season was best forgotten.
Dergview III and Enniskillen Town United Colts were seldom out of the bottom two places and will be playing in the bottom tier of Reserve Division Football after relatively short absences.
Reserve Division 2 League Cup Dergview III were the only Team not to enter the inaugural Reserve Division 2 League Cup whose credibility and composition was further reduced by the withdrawals of Enniskillen Town United Colts and Fintona Swifts Reserves and the dismissal of Lisbellaw United III. Consequently eventual Winners Tummery Athletic Reserves had free passage to the Final where they narrowly defeated Omagh Hospitals Reserves who had defeated Maguiresbridge Reserves and Dunbreen Rovers Reserves over two-legged Ties in earlier Rounds.
Patton Cup (Reserve Division 3)
After narrowly missing out on promotion last Season Killen Rangers III always looked like Champions and they clinched promotion with three matches remaining. Runners-Up Strule United Reserves were rarely out of the top two and both promoted sides will be playing in Reserve Division 2 for the first time next Season.
Third placed Lisnarick Reserves had a much improved campaign and they finished ten points ahead of Derrychara United Reserves who replicated their fourth position of the previous Season.
Newcomers Drumquin United Reserves and St Patricks Reserves will both be pleased with their endeavours and both finished well clear of NFC Kesh III and Fivemiletown United III who occupied the bottom two places.
Enniskillen Santos Reserves withdrew from the Division with five of their matches remaining and in accordance with Rule 16(aa) of the League’s Rules all of their remaining matches were treated as unfulfilled engagements and points awarded to their Opponents.
Reserve Division 3 League Cup The inaugural Reserve Division 3 League Cup was also diminished by the non-entry of Fivemiletown United III and the subsequent withdrawal of Derrychara United Reserves. St Patricks Reserves received a Bye in Round 1 and defeated Strule United Reserves by the odd goal in nine over their two-legged Semi-Final. Lisnarick Reserves narrowly defeated NFC Kesh III in their Round 1 Tie but had a convincing Semi-Final victory Drumquin United Reserves to reach the Final where they were narrowly defeated by the Castlederg side.
Youth Division Due to a lack of venue availability a change to the Competition’s structure resulted in all matches being played on Tuesday evenings under lights on the 3G Pitches at Bawnacre Centre. The Competition was a great success and the quality and competiveness of the football was outstanding at times. I envisage that the Youth Division will grow in the coming Seasons and become a vital link between Youth and Adult Football.
It was joy for Killen Rangers and heartache for the Enniskillen sides Rangers and Town United as the Youth Division concluded in a shameful manner with the failure of Enniskillen Athletic to field for the final match of the Competition against the Village side who consequently became Champions of the first ever League Competition to be played exclusively on artificial turf. They finished a single point ahead of undefeated Enniskillen Town United who had a four points advantage over Enniskillen Rangers who in turn had three points to spare over both Strathroy Harps and Lisnaskea Rovers. NFC Kesh trailed a further three points behind while Enniskillen Athletic finished in bottom place with zero points.
In a break with tradition the Annual Season Curtain Raiser was contested by the previous Season’s Mercer League Champions and Mulhern Cup Winners Enniskillen Town United and Irish Junior Cup Winners Strathroy Harps and played at Drumad, Lisbellaw on 13th August when the ‘Double’ Winners side retained the trophy following a penalty shoot-out after the Teams had shared four goals.
The League is appreciative of Lisbellaw United FC who provided their facilities free of charge and the Match Officials who did not seek reimbursement for their services. These generous gestures enabled a donation of £600.00 to be divided equally between Erne Disabled Angling Club and Northern Ireland Leukaemia Research Fund – the nominated Charities of the two Teams.
An Information Evening for Clubs was held in the Bawnacre Centre, Irvinestown on 25th July when the League’s website www.fermanaghandwesten.com, which had undergone a major overhaul, was re-launched. Eighteen Clubs, including the ‘usual suspects’ and inexplicably the League’s newest Club Enniskillen Athletic, were not in attendance but despite the apathy prevalent the Evening was once again a success and attendees were made aware of administrative procedures and the mechanisms of the League.
Local Football continues to receive good and largely positive coverage by the local Press and although it cannot be denied that the quantity of that coverage has undoubtedly increased in recent years so too has the lack of quality with inaccurate reporting being the norm.
It is a Newspaper’s job to provide information – both accurately and without prejudice – and there is concern at the cyclical failure of the local Press to publish Press Releases that are periodically issued by the League in an attempt to ensure that its message/s get/s to its Stakeholders and the general public. Press coverage is generally selective and our Information Evenings are also largely ignored by them. It would be good to see more positive and less negative / controversial stories in the Press but then again …..
There is also concern at the recurrent deliberate exclusion by The Fermanagh Herald of the name of the League’s Sponsor ABC for PCs when publishing results and fixtures despite being instructed in writing to so – an issue that the incoming Management Committee will have to immediately address.
We were excited about the redesigned Website which was re-launched in August and which we hoped would enable us to further expand our image and improve the effectiveness with the local Football Community so that everyone could be updated on the key issues. Unfortunately the Website has not provided the excellent source of information we thought it would and it is patently obvious that we need someone to maintain it on the League’s behalf. It is now time to appoint a dedicated Web Content Co-ordinator whose role will be to make our Website current and informative and embrace Social Media so as to effectively communicate with our (younger) Members.
While the Website will remain important for the more formal information Facebook and Twitter have taken over in terms of interactive communication. Given the recent upsurge in offensive, abusive and inaccurate comments on local Social Media sites Clubs should set in place procedures to manage the contents of their Players’ posts which by association can be linked to them. Players should be made aware that comments should always be within the parameters of permissible content and that offenders risk sanctions.
Referees are an important part of the infrastructure of the Fermanagh & Western and a significant strength of our League is the support given by the local Referees’ Association which ensures the success of our Competitions by providing Officials for our matches. Players do not realise how lucky they are to have a strong local Referees’ Association and I am personally grateful for the work Basil Marshall does every week of the Playing Season to ensure all matches are allocated an Official Referee. His efforts cannot be underestimated
Respect for Referees is not often shown and Clubs should ensure that all of its Members and Supporters have a positive and healthy attitude towards them or at least refrain from inappropriate criticism of their efforts. Most of those who show disrespect and challenge the impartiality of Referees often have little or no knowledge of the Rules nor their application
The ongoing good rapport with the local Referees’ Association is critical to the ongoing success of the League and despite healthy differences of opinion our relationship with them has been open, honest and professional. It was therefore a matter of some concern that we were unable to actively engage with them when scheduled Meetings were not held in early August and January. A Meeting was eventually held in mid-March when it was agreed that future Meetings would steadfastly be held on the first Thursday in August and the second Tuesday in January every year.
It is good to see local Referees making steady progress yet again with FIFA Referee Arnold Hunter having another incredible year of International appointments.
We are acutely aware of the need to attract and retain sufficient Referees to meet future requirements. The obvious source of new Referees is the playing ranks and for that I would encourage all Clubs to encourage those amongst their masses with the aptitude for refereeing to step forward
The Financial Report indicates that the League remains in a sound financial position and Member Clubs should once again be confident of our resolve to maintain this position.
Treasurer Gordon Lee will report a profit for the fourth consecutive Season. Income for the Season totalled £43,158.30 while Expenditure amounted to £41,706.88 – respective increases of 13.9% and 15.3% on the previous Season. The excess of Income over Expenditure is £1,451.42 – a reduction of £261.89.
Comparisons with the 2009/2010 Financial Report reveal that Income and Expenditure have risen by 67.4% and 40.1% respectively. A surplus of £5,471.81 has been realised over the past five Seasons and is a result of the proactivity of our drive to source alternative streams of funding - a large portion of which has traditionally been generated from Sponsorship.
We certainly could not have operated as we did without the generosity of our Sponsors but funding from Sponsorship has decreased dramatically and we need to constantly look for new avenues to increase funds. The whole area of Sponsorship and additional revenue generation remains our biggest challenge. The responsibility to grow revenue is a collective and there needs to be a concerted focus in co-operation with Member Clubs if we are to achieve progress in this area.
As a League we are indebted to ABC for PCs for their generosity throughout the year and we look forward to their continued support in the years ahead.
The Management Committee met on nine occasions throughout the Season and once again attendances at Meetings were excellent with an average attendance rate of 90%. An Attendance Register which depicts the attendance records of all Office Bearers and Club Delegates is included at the end of this Report and reveals that seven Members attended all Meetings while another ten Members attended all Meetings but one.
Meetings of the Finance (1), Registrars (2) and Rules Revision (1) Committees were also held occasionally throughout the Season while Members of the Emergency Committee met on one occasion and were consulted on nine other occasions to adjudge on a variety of issues.
The Management Committee has the responsibility to ensure that the governance of the League is sound and effective and in that regard it does an outstanding job. Its work of is not perhaps that visible to the average Club Member but it delivers that essential background work to make Football in the Fermanagh & Western area the undoubted success it is. At times we struggle under the weight of the formidable workload and the expectations of our Clubs many of whom have a lot to say about how things should and should not be done. We are bedevilled with negative feedback and a concentration on the minutiae and I have, for many years now, realised that you can’t please everyone - some people are never happy no matter what is done. Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do!
Having been an administrator for nigh on thirty-five years I have developed deep respect and administration for the many that make our Game happen and once again I think it prudent to highlight the role of Volunteers. Very few, if any, Sport has the capacity to deliver activities or survive without the devotion and commitment of Volunteers. In the changing society in which we live the Volunteer has become a finite resource – a resource to be respected and nurtured. They need to be acknowledged and whilst at times the role they play may seem thankless I trust that in time they will look back at their involvement with their Clubs with enormous satisfaction. Our Volunteers are the soul of our League - without them our Clubs would not survive and provide the opportunities that our Players and Supporters get from their involvement in Football.
A total of two hundred and three people, representing twenty-four Clubs, attended the Health & Sports Nutrition / Mental Health Awarness Seminars that was held in the Bawnacre Centre on 28th August when thirty-five Adidas Precision Training Packs (with an estimated value per Pack of £210.00) were distributed to Clubs in attendance. Thanks go to Shaun Doran whose Company, Health Matters (Health & Safety) Ltd, organised the Seminars in conjunction with the Irish Football Association.
The Irish Football Association’s Club Education and Development Programme will be rolled out to Clubs in the near future. The Programme is designed to help Clubs improve the standard of their administration and operate more effectively than they have done in the past.
Significant Alterations / Amendments to Rules were overwhelmingly endorsed by those Clubs in attendance at an Extra-Ordinary General Meeting which was held in March. These proposals, which were the result of many hours of review and refinement by Members of the Rules Revision Committee, will undoubtedly improve our effectiveness and efficiency
The League hosted two major Awards Dinners during the Season which were both held in The Killyhevlin Hotel, Enniskillen and I would like to thank the Hotel’s Management and Staff for their assistance and attention to detail on both occasions.
The League’s third Hall Of Fame Dinner was held in Hotel’s Riverside Suite on Friday 7th March when thirty-four of the guests invited were present to witness the induction of another two wonderful servants of the local Game, Derek Bowles and Colin Greaves, into the League’s Hall Of Fame. Former Treasurer Derek and former Disciplinary Secretary Gordon, who were both presented with magnificent Galway Crystal Trophies, have made massive contributions to local Football and they were humbled and extremely proud of this unexpected recognition by the League.
Once again the Dinner was an enormous success and a memorable occasion for all who were there but especially those Members of the Bowles and Greaves Families who were in attendance.
The League’s fourth Annual Awards Dinner took place in the Hotel’s Silks Suite on Friday 23rd May when a record one hundred and sixty-eight patrons assembled to celebrate another exhilarating Season, recognise the achievements of our Champion Teams and pay
tribute to the Divisional Teams, Players and Referees of the Year whose selections were contingent on their performances throughout the Season.
Representative from twenty-two Clubs were present to see the crowning of Killen Rangers’ Trevor Morrison as Player of the Year in succession to Strathroy Harps’ Darren Teague. Mark Jones (NFC Kesh) and Christopher Currie (Enniskillen Athletic) succeeded Christopher Keenan (Enniskillen Santos) and Mark Jones (NFC Kesh)) as Division 2 and Division 3 Players of the Year respectively while Killen Rangers’ Jamie Sproule succeeded Cain Hamilton (Fintona Swifts) as the Young Player of the Year. Congratulations to all of our Players of the Year and to all of the Players who were selected for the Divisional Teams of the Year.
Congratulations to John Coyle (Castlederg) and Matthew Gilchrist (Omagh) who became the first recipients of the Referee of the Year and Young Referee of the Year Awards. Congratulations also to Frankie Hannigan who recently retired after an incredible 47 years refereeing and who received a standing ovation and a suitable memento to mark his retirement.
Thanks go to all Clubs and the local Referees’ Association who attended and thoroughly enjoyed the Awards Dinner which was a spectacular success and which has quickly become an important Function in the local Sporting World’s Social Calendar despite its infancy. The number of Clubs that have yet to honour us with their presence at the Awards Dinner has diminished somewhat and now includes only the following: Ardstraw, Augher Stars, Dergview, Erne Rovers, Glebe United, Mountjoy United, Sion Mills Rec and Spamount Swifts.
Once again I would like to conclude my Report by thanking and acknowledging those who continued to support and enthuse me during the year.
I am grateful to the Members of the Management Committee who have ensured sound governance and effective operation at all times. There is a balance of skills, expertise and experience within the Committee and also a level of passion and interest that exemplifies our success and respect within the world of Sport. I appreciate the positive responses to additional demands on their time and respect the level of robust, invigorating and positive debate within the Committee.
I again extend my gratitude to Chairman Neil Jardine whose commitment, leadership and counsel during the past twelve months has been invaluable to me personally as well as being critical to every success the League has achieved over the reporting period and indeed over the period he has occupied the Chair. I look forward to continuing to work with him should it be the wish of the Membership.
I also acknowledge the strong support and commitment of Gordon Lee over the past two years in his dual role of Treasurer and Registrar. Due to increased work commitments Gordon will relinquish the latter position but will continue to oversee the finances of the League. I thank him for his outstanding contribution.
I want to thank the hundreds of Volunteers who tirelessly give their time every Season to make sure the Football in the Fermanagh & Western area is the best it can be. Volunteers
are the lifeblood of our League and without them it is difficult to fathom where local Football would be.
I thank each and every one of you here tonight for your individual contributions as well as being part of the collective which makes up the Fermanagh & Western Family.
Thanks are extended to Bawnacre Centre, Lisbellaw United FC, NFC Kesh FC and Tummery Athletic FC for making their pitches available during the Season.
For the umpteenth year the League has held all of its Meetings in the Bawnacre Centre and once again we have been fortunate to have unlimited access to the excellent services that the Centre provides. We are indebted to the Centre’s Manager George Beacom and his staff for their renowned affability and their exemplary administration of the Bawnacre Results Service which is an outstanding resource enjoyed by our Stakeholders and the general public alike.
It was with great sadness that we learnt of the passing of Jimmy Doherty husband of Spamount Swifts’ Secretary Ann and the parents of three Members of the Management Committee – Ken Elliott (father of Mervyn), James McVitty (father of Rodney) and Mary McGirr (mother of Kieran). On behalf of the League I extend sincere sympathy to the Families and to all Members of the Fermanagh & Western Family who suffered bereavements during the year.
The ongoing challenge for the League is to continue to provide a range of serious Competitions, develop financial resources and recommend new policies, processes and procedures that will improve our efficiency. To achieve this will require some imaginative thinking and a capacity to adopt innovative ideas. We must re-assess what we do and why we do it. We need to review our structures and not be backward in admitting that what has always been the case may not be the best way forward. We suffer from an inbuilt conservatism which can often work against change. Like it or not change needs to be embraced and we need to collectively challenge ourselves to face it.
In closing I would like to thank you for your friendship and support. You don’t get involved in the administration of a Sport unless you are seeking to work with likeminded people and it may sometimes be difficult to recognise that we are all working for the same outcome. It may be timely for all of us to remember that Football is a Team Sport and that Football in the Fermanagh & Western is a Family. Let us all work together – not only to make next Season one to remember but also to ensure our future success which ultimately depends upon your commitment and contribution.