It was a good night for Enniskillen Town at the inaugural Fermanagh and Western Football League awards as former Derry City star Gary Beckett and young winger Frank Wallace won the Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards respectively.
However, with only 11 out of the 30 clubs in the league represented at the awards night, league secretary Gerry Connolly explained to those present at the night that it was to the “eternal shame” of those clubs that they did not see fit to attend the night.
With a crowd of around 90 present from 11 clubs, the various teams of the year for Division One, Two and Three were named but the absence of the clubs was most keenly felt in Division Two where Strathroy Harps and Dergview Reserves accounted for eight of the nominees but were not present, adding a degree of farce to the proposed presentations.
Division One champions Lisbellaw United were well represented and they received their league medals with Connolly commenting that “it takes a good team to win a league once but a great one to retain the title the following year.”
Gary Beckett was not an unsurprising winner of the inaugural Player of the Year as his skills have lit up the local league since returning from the professional ranks of the League of Ireland and Irish League. Indeed, it was further revealed that he was the only player to be nominated by all the clubs in the teams of the year nominations. He pipped Ballinamallard’s Stephen Sheridan and Lisbellaw’s Paul Baron for the main award of the evening.
The rising new stars of the game were reflected in the Young Player of the Year award and the final three nominations were the Enniskillen Town duo of goalkeeper Joe McGovern and Frank Wallace. Mark Corry from Churchtown was the other nominee with the impressive Wallace taking the award.
The concept of the awards night is totally correct and those players that have excelled in the season past certainly deserve to be recognised for their efforts. To that end, the inaugural Fermanagh and Western Football League awards was a success.
Gerry Connolly says he is looking at ways of improving the awards for next year but key to that will be greater particpation from the clubs of the Fermanagh and Western while greater promotion of the event in advance could also attract neutral football fans in the area who have no affiliation to any clubs.