Fermanagh and Western FL 4-1 Sligo Leitrim DSL
June 20, 2023
On Saturday the 3rd June 2023 the Fermanagh and Western Football League Representative Side hosted the Sligo Leitrim District Soccer League in a challenge match at the sun drenched Ball Range ground in Enniskillen.
After last season compressive 4-0 down in Sligo by the Fermanagh and Western Football League the visitor fielded a much stronger side this year, included ex Ballinamallard United midfield dynamo Chris Kelly.
A first half double by veteran striker Ryan Campbell and second half goals by Tummery’s Declan McNulty and Beragh Swifts’ Kris Hamilton secured a comfortable victory for the host team.
A superbly well taken header by visiting number nine Jason Lyons, who missed a first half penalty, meant the contest was in the balance right up until the Michael Kerr’s team netted twice in the final 15 minutes.
The stifling heat was certainly a factor in the game and Kerr’s decision to make raft of substitutions at half-time served the hosts well in closing out the game.
That said the home side started on the front foot, and, after Campbell fired over following good play by Jamal Tavares and Conor Watson on the right, and Tavares had an effort saved after he was picked out by Sean McDonagh’s pinpoint left-sided cross, NFC Kesh striker Campbell opened the scoring from close range after visiting keeper Ultan McKenna found a Hamilton volley too hot to handle.
The visitors responded and following a mix up in the F&W defence, home net-minder Tiernan McNamee brought down Lyons and referee Martin Crawford immediately pointed to the spot. Lyons struck the penalty with real venom but sent it the wrong side of McNamee’s left upright.
The Carbury clubman though wasn’t to be denied and shortly afterwards connected with a Donal Gallagher left-sided cross to head back across goal and expertly inside McNamee’s right post.
But no sooner had the Sligo and Leitrim outfit got back on terms than they conceded a second. Ryan Hanna was released on the right and the Tummery player-manager raced to the byline to pull the ball back for Campbell who made no mistake with a quality finish.
Hamilton then had a shot saved by McKenna, and, following good play by Benny Boyle, Ashley Lowry and Campbell, the same player scampered clear but his attempted chip lacked enough height to trouble the visiting net-minder.
The half ended with Sligo right back Leo Doherty glancing a dangerous Chris Kelly corner inches past McNamee’s left post.
Kerr and his assistant Andrew Sproule rang the changes at the interval with Joel Peden, Nigel Beacom, Dylan Ballantyne, Declan McNulty, Aidy McCaffrey and Cathal Beacom all entering the fray.
Martin Hughes also came off the bench shortly afterwards and those fresh legs helped close the game out in the final quarter.
Campbell was denied a hat-trick by Sligo’s replacement keeper Ryan McCauley after being played in by McCaffrey before Magheraveely’s Ballantine was inches wide with a header.
The visitors also carved out a couple of half decent opportunities but it was the hosts who put the game to bed in that final flourish.
McNulty coolly rounded McCauley after he was threaded through by McCaffrey, and, five minutes from time, Hamilton got on the end of an inviting left-sided cross by Cathal Beacom to volley home from eight yards.
Neil Jardine (Chairman of Fermanagh & Western Football League) presented Noel Kennedy of the Sligo Leitrim District Soccer League with a shield after the match.