2017 was the year that Fermanagh Ladies got their hands on an All Ireland title, Pete McGrath stepped down as Fermanagh manager after a disappointing season and Derrygonnelly Harps continued to dominate on the club front as they secured a third New York Cup on the trot. The Harps also made their mark on the Ulster Club scene while Belnaleck reached the Ulster Junior final.
After a particularly difficult 2016 in which they never won a game, there was not overly high expectations for Fermanagh Ladies in 2017.
However, manager Emmet Curry, along with Mickey Cadden and Josie Boyle put together a squad with a good blend of youth and experience and they started to build confidence during a solid league campaign.
Derry and Fermanagh would become familiar foes before the season was over with the sides meeting five times in all.
Fermanagh had their eyes on an Ulster Junior title from the season’s outset and Oak Leaf side were to provide the opposition in the provincial decider.
On the day, a superb performance by 16 year old Eimear Smyth steered the Erne Ladies to victory with the Derrygonnelly player hitting 3-04 in a 4-10 to 1-10 victory.
Focus then switched the to All Ireland Junior Championship series and Curry’s side recorded comfortable wins over Derry and Antrim to book their spot in the All Ireland semi-finals.
Next up was a clash with London for a spot in the final and Fermanagh showed their never say die attitude to eventually come through this thrilling encounter.
Trailing by three points with normal time nearly up, Fermanagh forced extra time thanks to a goal by Nuala McManus. They again had to rally in extra time as they fell two behind but they responded to level before Aishling Maguire drilled over a wonderful point with the last kick of the game to send Fermanagh into the All Ireland final.
Derry again provided the opposition in the decider in Croke Park and it all appeared to be going wrong for Fermanagh as they trailed by nine points. 
A stunning fight back though saw them eat into the deficit and Sharon Murphy was the coolest person in Croke Park as she slotted home a last minute penalty to force a replay.
And Fermanagh gratefully accepted a second bite at the cherry as they went on to deservedly see off Derry in Clones on a 2-09 to 0-11 scoreline to clinch a first ever All Ireland title.
It was to be a disappointing 2017 though for the men’s side who were badly hit by retirements and injuries. The Division Two campaign started on a positive note with a six point victory over Down in Newry but it was a struggle from there on in the league with Fermanagh on the end of some heavy defeats.
Still, Fermanagh had a chance of survival on the last day when they faced Derry in Brewster Park and for the majority of the game they looked as if they would achieve that goal as they bossed things for long periods.
However, with time nearly up they were hit by a killer blow as Derry swooped for a goal to snatch the win. In the end, the win was not enough for Derry as results elsewhere conspired against them and both sides were relegated to Division Three for the 2018 season.
This defeat and subsequent relegation was always going to be a hard one to come back from and there was no easy draw in Ulster with Fermanagh facing an away game against Malachy O’Rourke’s Monaghan outfit.
Fermanagh did hold their own for 45 minutes or so against the Farneymen but Monaghan were to push on over the final quarter and in the end nine points divided the sides at the final whistle.
It was then on to the Qualifiers and a draw against Armagh in the Athletic Grounds but Fermanagh were second best throughout and a second successive nine point loss brought the curtain down on their season.
After taking time to consider his position, McGrath stated his desire to stay on for another year in the role and he was re-appointed but when player representatives flagged up concerns the squad had at a meeting with the manager, McGrath walked out and subsequently stepped down from the position, ending his four year term.
The task was then to seek a replacement and former Fermanagh star Rory Gallagher, who had stepped down as Donegal manager after three years in charge in the summer was appointed as manager. Gallagher’s backroom team for the forthcoming season includes three time All Ireland winner Ryan McMenamin as well as former Fermanagh players Shane McCabe and Ronan Gallagher.
On the club scene, it was another big year for Derrygonnelly as they won the senior championship for a third year in a row.
Martin Greene’s side were forced to dig out the win as they edged out Erne Gaels in the quarter-final. And they faced another battle in the semi-final when a late rally by Roslea forced a replay as they came from four down late on to level.
However, a dominant performance in the replay saw the Harps book their place in the final with the result all but decided by the interval when they led 1-09 to 0-00.
In the final they were to meet Devenish who had reached their first senior championship final in 19 years with a narrow one point semi-final victory over Tempo after edging out Teemore following a replay in the quarters.
It was the reigning champions though who bossed matters in the final. The Harps got on top in the period before half time and were in control throughout the second half to finish up 0-15 to 0-08 winners.
Devenish though set aside this disappointment to seal the Division One crown in this their centenary year with Barry Mulrone’s late point securing a one point win over Ederney in the final.
Derrygonnelly though had their eye on the bigger picture which was making an impact in Ulster.
This time they had home advantage against Armagh Harps and two early goals set them on their way to victory. Paul Ward slotted home a penalty and Conall Jones blasted home the second to put the Fermanagh champions in a lead they would never relinquish.
A semi-final against Cavan Gaels followed and the Harps came from four down to force extra time while the sides could not be separated after the two periods leaving it all to do again.
Goals though were to prove Derrygonnelly’s undoing. Cavan Gaels were able to blunder five goals and this ultimately was decisive. Derrygonnelly battled back from six points down and as the game entered injury time a huge Ryan Jones point edged them in front. However, the Gaels swooped for their fifth goal after this and there was no way back with one point dividing the sides at the final whistle.
Belcoo suffered relegation to Division Two along with Teemore but their was silverware for the O’Rahillys who lifted the Intermediate title with a narrow win over Lisnaskea. And in the Junior Championship final Belnaleck saw off Coa in an entertaining encounter. Indeed, Belnaleck were to push on in Ulster following this with a superb performance in Newry seeing them blow away the challenge of Down champions Dundrum.
Next up was a meeting with Derry side Doire Trasna and the Art McMuroughs had to produce a battling display to come through with Johnny Owens late point proving the difference as they progressed to the final.
However, it was not to be as Donegal’s Naomh Colmcille pulled away in the second half to finish up victors.
At underage level, Fermanagh clubs also were impressing with Derrygonnelly making the semi-final of the Paul McGirr Ulster U16 Tournament while Enniskillen Gaels will be aiming for Ulster glory on New Year’s Day in the Ulster Minor Tournament at St. Paul’s in Belfast. The Gaels defeated Cavan champions Ramor in the quarter-final and followed it up with victory over St. Eunan’s Letterkenny in the semis. Ballinascreen now stand between them and a second Ulster Minor title.
St. Michael’s also reached the Rannafast Cup final, losing narrowly to St. Pat’s Cavan.