As the year comes to a close and the festive season draws near, many clubs and counties will be readying themselves for pre-season training in January. Indeed most, if not all, county teams are well into their gruelling pre-season schedule.
Most teams setting out their training plans will harbour thoughts of silverware come the end of season. Every lad in the parish, young and old, will be seen at the first few training sessions with hopes of committing to the club for the year. They’ll all come creeping out of the woodwork with the intention that this year will be different, this year they will give it their all. However once the Champions League football hits the screen again on a Tuesday and Wednesday night that commitment will surely start to wane and the lure of the armchair will become overwhelming. As for the farmers in the panel, lambing season will take hold and they may forget about it until the grass is in the pit!
That’s all ahead of us in 2018 but for now, let’s take a look back at the happenings of 2017. 
As is the case every year, only a few can celebrate success. Below, I have highlighted a few players and moments of the year that I feel deserve a mention. I have based my selection on club and county performances.

Club Player of the Year: Michael Jones – Derrygonnelly
A worthy mention could also go to Daniel Kille of Lisnaskea who had a terrific year and was consistently registering impressively on the scoreboard. Eamon McHugh’s performances in his Ulster Club outings with Derrygonnelly also put him in the reckoning. 
However, I’ve gone for the same player as the Fermanagh Club All-Star selection in Michael Jones. He is certainly the most improved player over the last five or six years. He is often handed the man marking duties on the opponent’s best forward but still has the energy to get up the field and create scores for his team mates.

Club of the Year: Derrygonnelly Harps GFC
It’s hard to look past Derrygonelly for this accolade. The senior team secured their third championship title in a row and with a little bit of luck they could have been in an Ulster final. 
Their U16 team also reached the semi-final of the Paul McGirr Ulster club competition. Obviously there’s a lot of good work going on down in Harpland. 
Belnaleck almost became the second team after Lisnaskea Emmetts to win an Ulster club title and deserve a mention, as do Devenish GFC who had success for both their men’s and ladies teams in their centenary year.

Goal of the Year: Conal Jones (Derrygonnelly V Roslea, Championship Replay)
There may have been better goals scored this year but this was captured in the championship and killed off any hope of Roslea causing an upset.
 Jones picked up a lost ball and drove straight down the middle of the Roslea defence before putting it to the roof of the net from 20 yards.

Point of the Year: Barry Mulrone (Devenish V Ederney, League Final)
A score I’ll not forget in a hurry and one that will hurt for a while to come. With the clock on 63 minutes, Mulrone took a short free, playing a one-two with a team mate under the lights on the stand side in Brewster Park, before kicking it over the bar at the hospital end goals from 40 yards. With no time to recover, it was a fitting point to finish the league in Fermanagh – unfortunately for my Ederney team mates and me!

Game of the Year: Dublin V Mayo (All-Ireland Final)
Derrygonnelly and Cavan Gaels served up a thrilling replay and plenty of action right to the death. Kilcar and Slaughtneil produced a showpiece of club football under the lights of Omagh. 
However, I have gone for what should be the highlight of the footballing year. It doesn’t always turn out that way, but this year Dublin and Mayo certainly produced the goods in an epic battle.
The entire country was enthralled by the culmination of the All-Ireland championship. 
The two teams are embroiled in an era-defining rivalry, but the result so far has always ended the same way. 
This game had everything and more. Two teams not willing to back out of the fight. It made for compelling viewing. 
Dublin may be the greatest team of all time but if there was an entertainment award in the GAA, Mayo would certainly take it home!

Initiative of the Year: Teemore Shamrocks – Fermanagh All-Star Awards
It may not be a new invention but credit needs to go to Teemore Shamrocks for introducing Fermanagh All-Star Awards to our club championship. 
It’s now common in most counties but it just needed someone, in this case Teemore, to push ahead and introduce it. As with all awards the final selection is always up for debate but it can only help Fermanagh football to recognise our best club players in the championship. 
Let’s hope it goes from strength to strength.
With this year’s fixtures running smoothly, most players will be well rested and looking forward to pre-season training and bidding for success in 2018. If only the Champions League organisers could facilitate our training schedules!