Enniskillen Rangers great and former Enniskillen Santos boss Joe Keenan selects the best Fermanagh and Western XI he has played against

I played Fermanagh and Western football for a long time, probably too long some would tell you! But I have had the chance to play against some really good players in my time and this has given me the opportunity to recall some of those.

I have also picked many a team down through the years but without doubt this was by far the most difficult to settle on yet.

In picking my team I have gone with players who I played against in the early or middle stages of my career as the latter stages have been well covered in other teams selected so far. If I’m honest I could have selected four different teams and I haven’t included the likes of Harry McConkey, Ian McFrederick or the superb Gary Beckett as I hardly played against them. Ossie Corrigan was another who I didn’t play enough against but what a player.

In the end I have settled for a 4-3-1-2 system and the players mostly reflect the dominant sides during my time.


Paul McGread

Paul played like another sweeper as he read the game so well and while he was not the biggest of men he controlled the box well and was a good shot-stopper too. I had often thought I’d scored against him only for him to pull off the save or get back and push it away from the goal. An impressive medal collection with Shelbourne helped as well. George McFarland and Kenny Maguire were other options in goal but for me Paul just pipped them.

Right back

Adrian Lecky

He was the captain of Dergview when they were the dominant team in the 90s and he was a fantastic leader. He had a lot of pace and was also a formidable opponent. Just a really good player.

Left back

Phil Carleton

Mr Reliable, such a consistent player for Irvinestown who never let his side down. He was never easy to beat as he was good in the air and he would go through you if he had the chance. Tony McGourty of Lisbellaw United was another contender here and he would not look out of place in this team.


Alan Johnston

Alan was a great player with Lisnarick and Pete Keane took him to Irvinestown and made him an even better player. He was outstanding week in, week out for them as sweeper. Alan was a clean player who never panicked on the ball and was a good reader of the play.

Centre back

Dom Baxter

Dom Baxter was the best centre half that I played against. He was excellent for Shelbourne and not only could he defend but he was a real nuisance in the other box as well and he scored plenty of goals from free kicks and corners. A real good lad into the bargain.


Jim McClintock

Tabs was at the centre of everything for Enniskillen Town throughout the 80s and 90s, he was their driving force and a leader who was good in the air and even better on the ground. Could score goals too and always showed up in the derby games. He pips Sniffer Jameson of Shelbourne who was another fine midfielder.


Paul McAnea

I cannot look past Paul McAnea, for me, he is the first name on the teamsheet. He just controlled games in the middle of the park, he never made mistakes or wasted a pass and he could run all day. A real class act and a true sportsman both on and off the pitch as well.


Tommy Nethery

Tommy was a real handful as he was pacy, had an eye for goal and had a really good attitude. When we were playing Dergview he was always a threat that we would have to look out for as he was such a tricky player. Tommy Fiddis of Tummery was another good option in this position.

Attacking midfield

Paul Cassidy

Since I was young, Paul Cassidy was always the main man and he had such a long career and played in various positions where he looked equally as comfortable throughout his time. Paul scored a lot of goals in his time and he never really got injured while he also has a fantastic knowledge of the game. He was a shoe in for my team.


Marty Woodhead

I had numerous big battles for him down through the 80s and 90s and he was the best outside left that I marked. He had a great touch, he could finish and he could cross, he was my biggest test as a defender.


Trevor Donnelly

Trevor could be quiet for 80 minutes and then spring to life in the final ten minutes and finish with a hat-trick. He was a great centre forward and carried a goal threat every time he set foot on the pitch. He was also tough, you could kick him all day and it wouldn’t have bothered him.

As I say, this was a very difficult side to settle on and I’ve had to leave out the likes of Glynn Nixon, Gordy Lee, Shane O’Brien, Finbarr McNamee, Robbie Benson, Joey Spratt, Mickey O’Sullivan, Dennis McGrath, Liam Donnelly and many, many more.

There was also more recent players, the likes of Cathal Beacom and Willie Burleigh but I am happy with the XI I have finished with.

On another note, hopefully this season’s Fermanagh and Western League will be finished. I know from experience the joy and happiness that winning leagues or gaining promotion can bring. Tummery are closing in a first league title which would mean a lot to them and the likes of Enniskillen Athletic have secured promotion to Division One for the first time. I know it is a difficult situation but if possible it would be good to see the league completed.


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