By Mike Fitzpatrick
Westput Gaels 1-11
Both sides desperately needed to win this junior football A Division game to stand a chance of playoff contention this year. But neither side claimed victory.
A draw was a fair result for these two teams, which, at various stages of the tie, outplayed the other, with the vast majority of footballers on view playing their hearts out for the honor of their respective clubs.
It is generally understood by the Gaelic Park faithful that Rangers and Donegal have two of the four playoff spots already obtained, leaving the two remaining spots still up for grabs.
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But think again.
Another of the sides in contention, Rockland, currently lying in third place, are favorites for the third place, which leaves one position, a place which will be grabbed by either Wesput, Down or Fermanagh.
Dublin, alas, sunk to another defeat last week, and are therefore out of the reckoning. They still may have a major role as the catalyst in the division, performing favors for some sides still in contention.
The draw wasn’t a disastrous result for Wesput, who now have four points, but for Fermanagh, well, things do not look well for the northern club.
Westput started as the better side, opening the scoring thanks to accurate efforts from John Higgins, Ronan Goulding and Derek Savage. Fermanagh struck back with a venom, hitting points from Philip Mallon and two rapid fire goals from Sean Melly and Stephen Bogue. The latter was an unfortunate defensive mishap from Westput goalkeeper Tom Feighery, who then went on to heroically keep his side in the fray by pulling off two fantastic goalbound saves late
in the game.
Leading by three points going into the half, Fermanagh looked to be coasting toward a certain victory, but a resurgent Westput side came out fighting in the second half to outscore their opponents and hold the lead until late in the game to look as if they would claim victory.
Late points from Mallon of Fermanagh and Savage of Westput forced the result into the most confusing outcome.
Players of neither side raised their arms in delight at the end of this contest, as Westput and Fermanagh are still unsure of the outcome of their season.
Westput face Donegal in midweek, and on current form, could well snatch something. If they defeat Down in a couple of weeks, as they are perhaps expected to, then they are in good stead for playoff contention.
Fermanagh: Niall Quinn, Damian Boyle, Sean Moran, Gene Mulligan, Declan Campbell, Philip Mallon (0-4), Eamonn Cassidy, Sean Melly (1-0), Paul McGuirk, Marty McGlade (0-1), Darren Doherty (0-1), Vinny Hollywood (0-1), Brian Shannon (0-1), Stephen Bogue (1-0), Noel McGovern.
Westput Gaels: Tom Feighery, Neil McMahon, Brendan Owens, Sean Burke, Mike Deere, John Divilly, Jim Staunton, Conor Martin, John Higgins (0-1), Michael Conway (0-1), Ronan McCaffery, Ronan Goulding (0-4), Derek Savage (0-6), Kevin McManus, Sean Brennan. Subs: Gerry Farrell (1-0), Pete Brennan, Shane Murtagh, Karil Hynes.