Secretary's Report - League Reports - Secretary's Report 2014/15
Secretary's Report 2014/15
As we close the book on another Season it gives me great pleasure to present my Annual Report which reflects on the successes and disappointments of the past twelve months and sets out to be an honest account containing both quantitative and qualitative content which depicts the full spectrum of what has occurred within local Football during the past year.
It would be fair to say that 2014/2015 was another very busy and largely successful Season for Fermanagh & Western Football and we continue to be recognised as the leading Junior League regionally. The administration that is required to effect the smooth running of our Organisation – financially, logistically, organisationally and socially – is not dissimilar to running a small business and this should not be left to a select, albeit a democratically elected, few nor should it be taken for granted.
Notwithstanding we have witnessed a small decline in the number of Clubs since my reappointment as Secretary in June 2009. The primary reasons for this decline include lifestyles changes, lack of player commitment and financial issues / constraints. New Teams start up but pack it in after a few Seasons. There is no longevity which is essential to ensure that the very fibre and structure of the local Football demographic is secured for the future.
The Football Community was saddened by the passing of two formers stalwarts of the Game in 2015. Former President Robin Mitchell, who was laid to rest on 11th January (what would have been his 88th birthday), served as Treasurer of the League / Association for seven years and subsequently as President of both Organisations for a remarkable twenty-seven years. Bob Nesbitt, who passed away on 9th April, was Assistant Treasurer of the League / Association for many years before succeeding Roy Cathcart as Vice-Chairman of both Organisations in 1995 – posts he held for eight years. We remember both with affection and we are all the richer for having known them.
The 2014/2015 Season commenced on Tuesday 12th August with the annual Kennedy Cup match between the previous Season’s Mercer League Champions and Mulhern Cup Winners and ended on Saturday 23rd May with the Reserve Division 2 League Cup Final – the six hundred and forty-sixth match scheduled.
Thirty-two Clubs entered sixty-seven Teams in our various Competitions and approximately one-third of matches scheduled were initially postponed – eleven of these postponements were resultant from Clubs’ involvement in Irish Football Association Challenge Cup Ties while twenty-three Clubs availed of ‘Free Dates’.
A record number of twenty-five matches were forfeited – thirteen of which were not played during the perennial hectic end-of-Season programme - and appropriate penalties were imposed on defaulting Teams in accordance with League Rules and FIFA Regulations. It was once again disconcerting to note that one of these forfeitures had been occasioned pursuant to a suspension imposed on a Club by the Irish Football Association - Erne Rovers had incomprehensibly failed to pay a fine arising out of the accumulation of Disciplinary Reports while two other forfeitures were occasioned by a suspension being imposed on a Sion Mills Rec by the North West Football Association after the Club had neglected to pay a fine imposed following its failure to attend that Divisional Association’s Annual General Meeting.
A total of six games were abandoned – four because of torrential rainfall that caused waterlogged pitches, one after a Team’s Players had ‘walked off’ following a serious head injury sustained by their 16-years-old goalkeeper and one because of a melee involving Players and Supporter/s. Appropriate penalties, in accordance with Article 56.1 of FIFA’s Disciplinary Code and Article 19 of the Irish Football Association’s Disciplinary Code, were imposed by the Management Committee on miscreants in the latter two cases.
A total of two Protests / Claim for Points were lodged by Teams who made successful allegations that their opponents had played ineligible Players in matches against them.
Following a turbulent 2013/2014 Season one of our oldest Clubs Shelbourne withdrew both their Teams from the League during the close-Season which resulted in reduced match programmes for Division 2 and Reserve Division 2 Teams and necessitated a complete rearrangement of the match schedules to avoid weekly imbalances in same. The withdrawal of Derrychara United in late March, with only one match remaining, was perplexing to say the least and brought an ignominious end to their fourteen years in the League.
There were a number of standout performances throughout the Divisions but pride of place must go to Strathroy Harps FC who became only the second Club to complete successive Mercer Cup and Pete Keane Memorial Cup ‘Doubles’; Robin Porter Memorial Cup Winners Strule United Reserves who remained unbeaten as they clinched a second successive promotion and Enniskillen Town United U18s who had a rare perfect 100% record in their stroll to the Youth Division title.
We also pay tribute to our other Champion Teams – Enniskillen Santos, Mountjoy United, and Magheraveely Reserves - on their achievements as well as to all those Teams that won promotion – Irvinestown Wanderers, Omagh Hospitals, Beragh Swifts Reserves and Drumquin United Reserves.
Mercer Cup (Division 1) – Before the Season began many pundits tipped Strathroy Harps to retain their title but none of them predicted that the defending Champions would have things all their own way as they rocketed to a second successive title with several matches to spare. From the perspective of the neutral Fermanagh & Western Football follower Harp’s dominance made life rather dull and unappealing but that was hardly their fault as they launched their title bid early sprinting clear at an early stage with a procession of victories. It was all too easy. Only one Team, Enniskillen Town United, took points off them and when they did the race for the title was already over. Harps ended the campaign with a haul of sixty three points – just three short of the maximum – and with eighty nine goals scored and twenty one conceded they boasted the best attack and defence in the Division. The statistics were irrefutable, their triumph absolute.
Runners-Up Lisbellaw United recovered from an indifferent first half of the Season and a haul of twenty five points from their last nine matches enabled them to snatch second place from Enniskillen Town United whom they defeated in their final match.
“Town”, blighted by the migration of several Players pre-Season and a spate of long term injuries to key Players, were forced to give their Youth a chance to flourish and their third place finish has to be looked on as a creditable achievement for a Team in transition.
Following the previous Season’s highest ever placing Beragh Swifts, after a promising start,
were unable to recover the consistency of performance that had served them so well the previous year and they shared fourth place with Killen Rangers who have reasserted themselves as a force in the top tier despite the loss of several Players through immigration.
Although they lost their opening five matches on their return to the top tier after an absence of six years NFC Kesh showed great promise in the latter stages of the Season as they surged up the table to finish in a highly commendable sixth place.
Another Season, another mid-table finish for Tummery Athletic who easily stretched their stay in Division 1 to an outstanding twenty six years.
St Patricks survived their first Season back in the top flight but not without a scare or two along the way and they shared eighth place with Enniskillen Rangers who had another campaign to forget - a series of mediocre performances saw them fail to record consecutive victories during the Season.
Dergview Reserves had another arduous journey and they spent most of the Season entrenched in the bottom three battling to stave off relegation.
A winless final four matches of the Season left Fintona Swifts in the relegation zone for the first time at the worst possible time of the year and their time in the top tier came to an end after six years.
A lot had been made of relegated Lisnaskea Rovers’ influx of players as they ended their seven year exile from the top flight two Seasons ago. Importing Players can be a self-defeating approach and all sorts of problems can emerge. Their nightmare campaign was consequential to these same Players’ mass exodus pre-Season and they propped up the table for most of the Season
Enda Love Cup (Division 2) – Enniskillen Santos and Irvinestown Wanderers were embroiled in an intriguing Season-long two-way title race which was only decided following a dramatic Championship Play-Off after both Teams had finished level on forty five points after eighteen matches. Both had their promotion confirmed with several matches to spare and although Santos claimed the title Wanderers had the consolation of regaining their Division 1 status which they had relinquished two Seasons earlier.
Newly promoted Magheraveely and Enniskillen Athletic both exceeded expectations and their top four finishes were impressive achievements.
After successive sixth places finishes Strule United had another relatively solid term but they will probably view their improved final fifth place finish as disappointing.
The battle to steer clear of the solitary relegation place following the withdrawal of Derrychara United was taut and fraught. Glebe United and Lisnarick, who had spent most of the Season fighting to avoid the drop, eventually moved away from the relegation zone while Spamount Swifts showed great character to win their final two matches and force a Relegation Play-Off with Maguiresbride. The Castle Park based side guaranteed themselves another Season in Division 2 following their subsequent 2-0 victory which confirmed the West Tyrone side’s return to the bottom tier after an absence of five years.
Brendan Keogh Memorial Cup (Division 3) - After a six year sojourn in the Northern Ireland Intermediate League Mountjoy United made a welcome return to the League and were many people’s tip for immediate promotion. The tipsters were proved correct and they sealed the title with a scoreless draw against Orchard Farm in their final match. The
Lisnagirr Road Team had always been at the forefront and they successfully withstood persistent pressure from Runners-Up Omagh Hospitals who ensured that the title race went right down to the wire.
Newcomers Mountfield were a welcome addition to League and they enjoyed an excellent debut Season finishing in a creditable third position
Erne Rovers and Dunbreen Rovers went into the Season full of optimism and although they both threatened at one stage they flattered to deceive dropping soft points here, there and everywhere. Their respective fourth and fifth place finishes were improvements of two places on the previous Season’s standings.
Fivemiletown United II have been the only ever present in Division 3 since the League was reformed in 1999 and they failed once again to assert themselves as a force in the Division and finished in mid-table anonymity for the umpteenth time.
Relegated Drumquin United and Orchard Farm both performed well below expectations and they were never able to string together consistent performances during the year.
There were high hopes for Ardstraw Reserves following last Season’s fourth place finish but their title challenge was extinguished early following defeat in their first four matches and a Season best forgotten saw them finish just ahead of bottom placed Sion Swifts Rec who had an inauspicious final Season in the League.
Division 3 League Cup
All Teams entered the Division 3 League Cup which was again played on a two-legged knockout basis. The challenges of Dunbreen Rovers and Omagh Hospitals were brief while Drumquin United, Erne Rovers, and Mountfield exited the Competition at the Quarter-Finals stage – Fivemiletown United II having dramatically withdrawn prior to their 2nd Leg Tie against Sion Mills Rec. Mountjoy United and Orchard Farm subsequently overcame the respective challenges of Sion Mills Rec and Ardstraw Reserves to reach the Final which was played at Fountain Lane, Beragh where Mountjoy United emulated the achievements of the Division 3 League Champions of the previous two Seasons by deservedly winning their second trophy of the Season.
Pete Keane Memorial Cup (Reserve Division 1) - Strathroy Harps Reserves were again the dominant side and a 5-0 away victory over Enniskillen Rangers Reserves in their penultimate match guaranteed them a record hat-trick of Reserve Division 1 titles. They ‘scored’ an incredible one hundred and thirteen goals and had an unprecedented goals difference of ninety three,
Enniskillen Town United Reserves were their only realistic challengers but a shock defeat to Killen Rangers Reserves in late March severely dented their aspirations of a seventh Championship and they had to be content with their first ever Runners-Up place.
Lisbellaw United Reserves, who were denied a third successive runners-up spot, shared third spot with Glebe United Reserves who achieved their highest ever final placing.
After successive third place finishes Killen Rangers Reserves dropped two places and they finished two points clear of promoted Tummery Athletic Reserves.
Dunbreen Rovers Reserves avoided an immediate return to Reserve Division 2 by winning their final three matches and they finished two points ahead of NFC Kesh Reserve and six points clear of the relegation zone.
Enniskillen Rangers Reserves and Lisnaskea Rovers Reserves both failed to prolong their stays in the top flight following wretched campaigns which were highlighted by bad results and mediocre performances throughout which saw them gain a pitiful total of seventeen points between them.
Robin Porter Memorial Cup (Reserve Division 2) - Strule United Reserves’ narrow 4-3 home victory over Beragh Swifts Reserves in early December proved to be the catalyst for the Club’s first ever League title and they had the distinction of being the only Team to remain unbeaten throughout the regular Season. Although the Fountain Lane side scored more and conceded fewer goals the Donnelly’s Holm based side were not too concerned about such minute details - the only matter of importance for them was that they saw their bid for glory through to the end.
Third placed Maguiresbridge Reserves finished ten points adrift of the Runners-Up position and ten points ahead of fourth placed Lisbellaw United III (the Division’s longest serving Team) who retained their place in the middle tier with relative ease.
Omagh Hospital Reserves and Killen Rangers III both had indeterminate campaigns as evidenced by their mid-table finishes while Orchard Farm Reserves were never really threatened by relegation.
‘Relegated’ Lisnarick Reserves avoided the ignominy of relegation following a successful allegation that Omagh Hospitals Reserves had played ineligible Players against them in their final match Fintona Swifts Reserves, who astonishingly ‘failed to field’ for their final match, consequently filled the only relegation place ‘on offer’.
Reserve Division 2 League Cup
The Reserve Division 2 League Cup was diminished by the non-entry of Fintona Swifts Reserves and Maguiresbridge Reserves and the withdrawal of Lisnarick Reserves following a 7-1 home Semi-Final 1st Leg defeat by Beragh Swifts who had defeated Killen Rangers III in an earlier Round. Omagh Hospitals Reserves (conquerors of Orchard Farm Reserves) defeated Strule United Reserves (conquerors of Lisbellaw United III) after a titanic struggle but they were unable to overcome the challenge of Beragh Swifts Reserves in the Final which was played at Lisnagirr Road, Mountjoy and which signalled the end of the Fermanagh & Western Football Season.
Patton Cup (Reserve Division 3) – Newcomers Magheraveely Reserves recovered from an indifferent start to the Season and eleven wins in their final twelve matches propelled them to the title. In the end they had eleven points to spare over Drumquin United Reserves whose promotion was confirmed by NFC Kesh III’s failure to field for their penultimate match.
Although hard to beat a preponderance of draws ended Mountfield Reserves challenge although they must be satisfied with third place in an assured debut Season.
Fourth placed St Patricks Reserves’ challenge eventually fell away while NFC Kesh III and Dergview III will be disappointed with their mid-table finishes.
Dunbreen Rovers III had an inauspicious first Season and they finished in seventh position – two points clear of the bottom trio of Spamount Swifts Reserves (who had withdrawn from the Division on 20th March), Enniskillen Town United Colts and Fivemiletown United III.
Reserve Division 3 League Cup -
The Reserve Division 3 League Cup was diminished by the non-entry of Dunbreen Rovers III and the subsequent withdrawal of Holders St Patricks Reserves and Spamount Swifts Reserves. Consequently Enniskillen Town Colts and Magheraveely Reserves received Byes in Round 1 and they were joined in the Semi-Finals by Fivemiletown United III and Mountfield Reserves. The Division’s two lowest placed Teams both had dramatic victories to reach the Final which was played at Michael Connolly Park, Kesh where Enniskillen Town Colts won their first silverware since winning the inaugural Reserve Division 2 Championship in Season 1999/00.
Youth Division (Fermanagh Shield) – All matches were played on Tuesday evenings on the 3G Pitches at Bawnacre Centre and despite the success of the previous Season’s Competition there was a disappointing entry of only five Teams. The Youth Division has been a welcome addition to our League and the importance of maintaining this Division cannot be overstated. Enniskillen Town United U18s, with a 100% record, stormed to the title and finished six points ahead of Killen Rangers U18s, Lisnaskea Rovers U18s finished in mid-table with nine points – three points ahead of Enniskillen Rangers U18s who had the same margin ahead of bottom placed NFC Kesh U18s. Amazingly there were no draws in the programme of twenty matches.
Kennedy Cup - The Annual Season Curtain Raiser between the previous Season’s Mercer League Champions (Strathroy Harps) and Mulhern Cup Winners (Enniskillen Town United) was played at Crawford’s Lane, Dromore on Tuesday 12th August and saw the latter relinquish their hold on the trophy following a 3-2 defeat.
The League is appreciative of the Tummery Athletic Club which 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 £1,000.00 to be divided equally between the nominated Charities of the two Teams – Starthroy Harps – Palliative Care Unit, Tyrone County Hospital and Enniskillen Town United – Devenish Partnership Forum & Kilmacormick Playgroup.
I wish to thank the local press for their continued support and urge them to continue with the largely positive coverage that they provide for local Football.
Our Information Evening for Member Clubs was held on 28th July in the Bawnacre Centre and it is disconcerting to note the continuing apathy of the ‘usual suspects’ whose recurrent non-attendance continues to amaze and astound given their poor comprehension of the respective roles and responsibilities required for Club administration
We re-launched our website on 25th July 2013 but the project has presented a number of difficulties, specifically our underestimation of the complexities and time required to deliver the website’s core functions. Although we received positive feedback on the re-launched website we recognise that improvements are required, particularly updates to enhance the competitions management systems
The key to the success of social media accounts will be producing regular content that is engaging, useful and informative and we have now employed the services of a reputable consultancy to highlight our activities and maximise the opportunities that social media can bring.
You may be aware that during the course of my Annual Report Season 2013/2014 I highlighted the recent surge of offensive, abusive and inaccurate comments on local Social Media sites and advised Clubs to set in place procedures to manage the contents of their Players’ posts which by association could be linked to them. I also advised that Players should be made aware that comments should always be within the parameters of permissible content and that offenders risked sanctions. This advice fell on deaf ears and highly offensive and obscene comments pertaining to myself, Enniskillen Town United and the League’s Management/Emergency Committees were recently published on the Social Media Sites ‘F&W Updates’ and ‘F&W Banter’ by Registered Players Conrad Kee (Killen Rangers FC), Wray Lindsay (Killen Rangers FC) and Paul McCabe (Strule United FC). The League’s Management Committee resolved that these comments were in breach of Article 16.1 of the Irish Football Association’s Disciplinary Code Season 2014/15 and consequently each of the transgressors was sanctioned with a one match suspension and a fine of £100.00 imposed on their Clubs.
The outrageous comment “They’ll give it to an Enniskillen player, cheating F&W c**ts!!!” by a Martin Sweeney which was published on the Strathroy Harps Facebook Page following the release of the nominations for the Player Of The Year remains in situ at the time of writing - some twenty-seven days after its publication!! Strathroy Harps have certainly not set in place procedures to manage their Facebook Page and undoubtedly will be called to account for their actions or inactions.
Referees are an integral part of our Game and I wish to acknowledge and thank all Referees who officiated at our matches during the year. The League boosts an outstanding ratio of Referees to matches which is the envy of most other Leagues
I would like to thank the Match Appointments Officer, Basil Marshall, who continues to provide an invaluable service to our League. His is a thankless task which he has performed with a minimum of fuss and he has, as is usual, received praise and criticism in equal measure.
Junior Referees Barry Monaghan and Oisin Mahon brought great honour to the local Referees’ Association and themselves with their respective appointments to the Finals of the Irish Junior and Harry Cavan Youth Cups while Tim Marshall joined Arnold Hunter on the FIFA List of Referees.
The battle to recruit and retain Referees is an ongoing one every year, As ever the local Referees’ Association gained some new officiating talent at the beginning of, and throughout, the year but also lost some experienced Referees from the previous year. The number of Referees is similar to Seasons past as a result of several strategies undertaken to attract and recruit Referees. In recent years recruitment has seen a shift towards former Players taking up refereeing and any Player considering a move into refereeing should contact the Association’s Recruitment Officer Tony Sharkey.
The first of our previously agreed biennial Meetings with the local Referees’ Association was held on 6th August in the Bawnacre Centre but our second Meeting on 13th January inexplicably did not take place. We have enjoyed many mainly constructive Meetings with the Referees’ Association in the past and it is imperative that we re-establish credible and productive relationships with them. The predetermined dates for our Meetings must be honoured and I look forward to renewing acquaintances with them on 6th August.
Treasurer Gordon Lee will report that the League / Association has recorded a surplus for the fifth consecutive year. This year’s Income at £43,034.35 is £123.95 less than last year’s while Expenditure has decreased by £6,457.38 resulting in an operating profit of £7,784.85.
Once again the League / Association generated the bulk of its Income from Entry / Affiliation Fees, Fines, Gate Receipts and Registration / Transfer Fees while major sources of Expenditure were mostly similar to previous Seasons.
A large portion of our funding has been traditionally generated from sponsorship and we certainly could not have operated as we did in the past without the generosity of our Sponsors. It is disheartening to note that the downward trend in Sponsorship revenue continued and alarmingly the League is now without a Sponsor. This is a matter that we need to address urgently or alternatively we need to look for new avenues to increase funds and I would strongly advocate the introduction of an Annual Prize Draw in conjunction with our Clubs. Obviously returns would have to justify the work that would have to go into such a venture but the probable revenue accruing would ensure the financial stability of the League / Association and help maintain build up reserves for the future.
Our critics will argue that the League / Association should be providing cash funding to assist Clubs in their operations. However no Organisation can continue to develop with a “break even” mentality nor can maximum benefit be derived from simply distributing profits as and when they are made.
The Management Committee met on only seven occasions throughout the Season (the Meeting in October was cancelled because of my contemporaneous illness) and once again attendances at Meetings were excellent. A Register of Attendances is included at the end of this Report.
Meetings of the Finance, Registrars and Rules Revision Committees were held as and when necessary during the Season while Members of the Emergency Committee were consulted on eleven occasions to adjudge on a variety of issues.
The modus operandi of these Committees and the Management Committee 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. It has the responsibility to ensure governance is sound and effective and in that regard it does an outstanding job. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all of the Members of the Management Committee for their commitment and continued contribution in participating and managing the affairs of the League over the past year and I urge them to continue to be a part of this.
Recommendations from the Rules Revision Committee were overwhelmingly endorsed by Clubs at an Extra-Ordinary General Meeting which was held in the Bawnacre Centre on 26th March. Delegates at tonight’s Annual General Meeting will be asked to sanction several more alterations to the League’s Rules which will make them compliant with FIFA’s Disciplinary Code and the Irish Football Association’s Amateur Game Player Registration Regulations.
Time constraints prevented the Irish Football Association’s Club Education and Development Programme from being rolled out to Clubs during the year and consequently ‘A Guide For Football Administration In Northern Ireland’ will be distributed to all Clubs in attendance here tonight.
I accept that there is and will be a diverse range of views on any number of Football issues and our actions and decisions will always receive critical analysis. However our Sport is bedevilled with negative feedback and a concentration on the minutiae. No matter what is done there is no thanks – just criticism that something was missing, not done or not done well enough. Many Players and Officials have a lot to say about how things should and should not be organised but very few, if any, actually put their hands up to volunteer for service. To them I say: “Give help rather than advice”.
The League’s Hall Of Fame was established in 2012 to acknowledge and celebrate the huge contributions made to our Sport by so many people since the establishment of the League in the early twentieth century and it was most fitting that three of the League’s most distinguished historic figures – Joseph P Gillan, Harry Mercer and William Connor – were inducted into the Hall Of Fame together with immediate past League Chairman Sammy McFrederick at the League’s fourth Hall Of Fame Dinner which was held in The Killyhevlin Hotel’s Riverside Suite on Friday 27th February.
A record number of sixty nine invited guests were present to witness their induction and the unveiling of the League’s Hall Of Fame Board which will henceforth be on permanent and public display in the Bawnacre Centre.
Once again the Dinner was a spectacular success and a memorable occasion for all who were there but especially for Harry Mercer’s grandson Steven and his wife Louise and those Members of the McFrederick Family who were in attendance.
In another fantastic celebration of the local Game and everything that is great about it the Football Family once again came together in The Killyhevlin Hotel’s Lisgoole Suite on Saturday 24th May to commemorate a wonderful Season, celebrate the achievements of our Champion Teams and recognise the Divisional Teams, Players and Referees of the Year.
One hundred and thirty one people attended the League’s fifth Annual Awards Dinner where an unparalleled array of trophies was on display. Killen Rangers’ Andrew Crawford was crowned Player of the Year in succession to his teammate Trevor Morrison and became the first recipient of the Robin Mitchell Memorial Cup which was donated to the League by his grand-daughter Claire Galbraith for annual presentation to the Player of the Year. Christopher Currie (Enniskillen Athletic) and David Long (Mountjoy United) succeeded Mark Jones (NFC Kesh) and Christopher Currie (Enniskillen Athletic) as Division 2 and Division 3 Players of the Year respectively while Killen Rangers’ Jamie Sproule was again adjudged Young Player of the Year. Congratulations are extended 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 are also extended to Danny Colton (Dromore) who succeeded John Coyle (Castlederg) as Referee of the Year and Matthew Gilchrist (Omagh) who was adjudged Young Referee of the Year for the second successive year.
Shortlists for the various Players of the Year and Divisional Teams of the Year were released in advance of the Annual Awards Dinner and prompted the inevitable barrage of criticism. However we faced our most fiercest criticism after the Dinner given the apparent positional imbalances of the Teams of the Year. We are cognisant that this is a matter that needs to be addressed urgently and our task is to develop the process without compromising the raison d'être behind the Awards. Despite the abundance of negative criticism it is not surprising that no Club or any Member of a Club has been in contact to suggest ways in which the Awards might be improved!!
Thanks go to those Clubs and Referees who attended and thoroughly enjoyed the Awards Dinner which was once again a huge success and has become a well-established and important Function in the Social Calendar. We will do it all again on Friday 20th May 2016 when hopefully the number of Clubs that have yet to honour us with their presence at the Awards Dinner will be diminished even further.
Very few, if any, Sports have the capacity to deliver activities or survive without the devotion and commitment of their Volunteers and once again I think it prudent to highlight the role of our Volunteers who each week give tirelessly of their time, expertise and energies for the fulfilment of others. They are becoming increasingly hard to find so we need to cherish those who we have and encourage others to take part.
I extend my thanks to our Chairman Neil Jardine for his guidance and help. He has, as ever, led by example and the League continues to prosper and progress under his stewardship. Thanks are also due to our Treasurer Gordon Lee and our Registrar Malcolm McVitty for their work in what are ever demanding roles.
The League wishes to record its thanks to Ballinamallard United FC, Beragh Swifts FC, Mountjoy United FC, NFC Kesh FC, Tummery Athletic FC and Bawnacre Centre for making their pitches available for matches during the Season.
The League held all of its Meetings in the Bawnacre Centre and we are fortunate to have unlimited access to the superb facilities that the Centre provides. We are appreciative of its long serving Manager George Beacom for his steadfast support of the League and its activities and his staff for their customary co-operation, courtesy and efficiency. We are also appreciative of their continuing administration of the Bawnacre Results Service which is a wonderful asset for the whole Community.
As with every year the League, and its Member Clubs, have lost many friends over the past twelve months and I wish to covey the sympathy and condolences of the League to all bereaved Families but in particular to the Families of the late Paul Johnston (Dunbreen Rovers), Kieran Judge (Enniskillen Town United), John Forsythe (Dergview) and Robin Mitchell and Bob Nesbitt whose deaths have been referred to earlier in my Report.
I would like to reiterate my thanks to the Management Committee for their unstinting support and encouragement and the giving of so much of their time to run the League
As I always seem to do at this time of the year I look forward to next Season and I hope that the coming twelve months (and beyond) are characterised by a positive proactive “working together” mentality. I challenge those who have ideas to contribute to be constructive in their approach. All parties need to step out of their traditional self-centred ‘my Club’ views and work collaboratively towards what should be and are largely common objectives for the longer term good of our Sport. We must look at the sum total of all of our efforts and realise that without others our Sport will not prosper. Together we can grow our Sport further, continue to offer and refine Competitions designed both to challenge and fulfil the range of skills and aspirations of our Players and encourage even greater support from the diverse Fermanagh & Western Communities of which we are all part. I am passionate about my role within the Organisation and will continue to work tirelessly to ensure it is in a strong position today, tomorrow and into the future.
Finally I wish you all well in the new Season, both on and off the pitch, and hope that we can continue to all work together to ensure the future of Fermanagh & Western Football.