Ballinamallard United: A History

NIFL Premiership

Ballinamallard United was formed in 1975 with the principal parts being played by Ken Fallis, Noel Fallis, Dennis Nixon, Robbie Boyle, Billy McElroy and Billy Aiken. There is, however, a history that suggests there was a precursor to the club from as early as 1892 which later folded.

The club was first entered into the Fermanagh & Western Division 4 for the 1975/76 season. The team’s first match was played on a pitch at Necarne near Irvinestown, on 16 August 1975, which resulted in a 9-1 victory against Ardstraw. Incredibly, in this debut season, ‘The Ducks’ finished in second place, earning promotion to Division 3.

For the 1976/77 season, the club started to play their home matches in the townland of Ferney in Ballinamallard, where they had a pitch that was granted to them by Henry Burke. Another successful season led to the club earning a second successive promotion.

The club remained in Division 2 until they won promotion to Division 1 for the 1982/83 season, where they remained until the 1990/91 season when they were granted entry to the then B Division of the Irish League, after club secretary, Maurice Hetherington, had written to the IFA in 1989. The decision to allow Ballinamallard into the B Division was ratified on 1 December 1989 by the Irish League Management Committee.

Ballinamallard won their first ever Intermediate silverware with the 1995 Intermediate Cup after defeating Park FC 3-1 with goals from Nigel Keys and two from Seamus Bonner. To this day it is still the only time a team from Fermanagh has won the Intermediate Cup.

In the 2002/03 season, the club created history by winning the Second Division, becoming the first team from Fermanagh to earn a league title in the 113 years of Irish League football. On the last day of the season, Harry McConkey’s men needed just a point to win the league but got all three with a goal from Shane O’Brien.

The team were relegated back to the Second Division in the 2004/05 season. The club went close to earning promotion back to the second tier First Division in 2007/08 but had to wait until the following season to do so.

For the 2008/09 season, the Irish League was restructured, meaning that the club would now be competing in Championship 1. In that initial season, Ballinamallard finished fifth despite having to play all their ‘home’ matches at Holm Park, home ground of Armagh City, 50 miles away, as Ferney Park did not meet the necessary ground requirements for the division.

‘The Ducks’ won 2011/12 season Championship 1 league title, becoming the first team from Fermanagh to play first tier football in Northern Ireland. The following season, despite being huge favourites for relegation from the Premier League, the Mallards finished fifth, narrowly missing out on qualifying for European football.

In 2014/15 they had their best run to date in a senior cup competition, reaching the semi final of the League Cup, before losing narrowly to Ballymena United 3-2.

Ballinamallard has continued in the Premier League since their promotion, but haven’t been able to match the feat of their premier season to date, finishing between 9th and 11th every season since that remarkable year.

Club Honours:

IFA Championship 1: 1

IFL Second Division: 1

IFA Intermediate Cup: 1

F&W Intermediate Cup: 1

F&W Division 1: 4
1925/26, 1957/58, 1997/98, 2001/02

F&W Division 2: 1

F&W Division 3: 1

F&W Mulhern Cup: 3
1954/55, 1988/89, 2010/11

F&W Reihill Cup: 4
1986/87, 1987/88, 1988/89, 1995/96

F&W Kennedy Cup: 3
1988/89, 1996/97, 1997/98