Early history and the reformation

Whilst there are no official records to state when the club was originally founded, there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that a team was in place as early as 1892. The club folded and then was reformed in 1975 with Ken Fallis, Noel Fallis, Dennis Nixon, Robbie Boyle, Billy McElroy and Billy Aiken all playing key roles.

 

A team was entered into the Fermanagh & Western Division 4 and they won their first match 9-1 against Ardstraw on a pitch at Necarne, near Irvinestown, on the 16th August 1975. Incredibly, the team finished that season in second place, and were therefore promoted to Division 3.

 

In 1976 the team started to play their matches in the village of Ballinamallard, on a pitch on the townland of Ferney, and granted to the club by Henry Burke. A second succesive promotion led the team into Division 2 where they remained until promotion to Division 1 for the 1982/83 season.

Entry to the Irish league

In July 1989, club secretary Maurice Hetherington formally wrote to the Irish Football Association seeking entry to the 'B Division' (Now known as Championship 2) for the season 1990/91. Entry to the League was ratified on 1st December 1989 by the Irish League management committee.

 

Ballinamallard earned their first Intermediate trophy in 1995, by winning the coveted Intermediate Cup, defeating Park FC 3-1 in the final with goals from Nigel Keys and Seamus Bonner (2). To this day, it remains the only time Ballinamallard, or any team from County Fermanagh, have won the Intermediate Cup.

 

2001 to 2003 was a history making period for the Mallards when two significant pieces of silverware were added to the trophy cabinet. Firstly, the Irish Youth Cup was won in the 2001/02 season which again, was a first for County Fermanagh and the club. The youth section foundations were beginning to bear fruit, and several members of that youth team then joined Harry McConkey's first team panel for the 2002/03 season, which was to be another watershed moment.

 

The team only needed 1 point from their remaining fixture at home to Portstewart and it took a Shane O'Brien goal (pictured left) to secure victory and the 2002/03 Second Division title. There was no trophy presentation on the day but that didn't stop the celebrations for the first ever title win by a Fermanagh club in 113 years of Irish League history.

 

The Mallards were relegated from the First Division in the 2004/05 season and competed in the Second Division during the period 2005/06 to 2008/09, narrowly missing out on the title in 2007/08. The youth section produced another talented crop of players, who clinched the Irish Youth Cup for a second time in 2005/06 under the management of Whitey Anderson. This was the start of a magical 10 year period, in which the club went from strength to strength.

 

The Irish League was restructured for the 2008/09 season, with Ballinamallard promoted from Division 2 into 'Championship One' and they attained a credible fifth placed finish during that year. That achievement was even more staggering considering that the team had to play all their matches away from home! Ferney Park did not meet the ground criteria to allow the first team to play at home, and they therefore had to groundshare with Armagh City FC, meaning a 100 mile round trip for every 'home game'.

 

 

Promotion to the Irish Premier League

Ballinamallard won Championship One in the 2011/12 season and ultimately secured promotion to the Irish Premier League.

 

Ballinamallard had now become the first ever team from County Fermanagh to compete at the highest level in Northern Ireland.

 

In their debut season, and despite being relegation favourites, the mighty mallards rocked the football world and recorded a fifth placed finish; narrowly missing out on a European spot.

 

The club has since finished tenth in 2013/14 and ninth in 2014/15, which will enable them to compete for a fourth year in the Danske Bank Premier League. They also advanced to the furthest stage of a senior cup competition, with a semi final game in the Wasp Solutions League Cup at Ferney Park, when they narrowly lost 3-2 to Ballymena United.

Infrastructure developments

After opening the club house premises in 1987, the next major development at the club was the granting of 'Fisher Park' in 2000 which would become a second pitch for use by our youth development programme.

 

Further expansion took place in 2005 with the construction of a modern changing complex, capable of hosting 4 teams and also including a wash room, referees facilities and a committee room. The old changing complex still remains today, and has been transformed into a first aid room, gymnasium and control room for match days.

 

Promotion to 'Championship One' in 2008 meant that Ferney Park had to meet certain ground criteria to enable the first team to compete in that particular league. At the time however, Ferney Park did not have the required facilities, and the first team had to groundshare with Armagh City FC whilst Ferney Park was brought up to standard. Eventually, after one and a half seasons of groundsharing, in October 2009 work began on a 200 seater stand, new dugouts and turnstiles. The Mallards finally returned home and played their first game against Portadown in the League Cup quarter final on 5th December 2009.

 

Floodlights were next on the agenda and were installed in February 2010. Ironically, the first game under lights was against Armagh City FC, and the Mallards won 4-1. This was another first for County Fermanagh, as a competitive floodlit soccer match had never taken place in the County.

 

In the summer of 2010, Ferney Park was relaid by Prunty Pitches and received second prize as the 'pitch of the year' behind Windsor Park. The surface was re-laid again in 2011 and won the pitch of the year award in 2011/12.

 

Promotion to the Premier League meant that ground criteria was enhanced further, and the club immediately set about constructing two terraced stands, capable of holding a combined capacity of 750 persons in addition to a second set of turnstiles. The stands were part funded by the 'Ballinamallard Development Association' and a number of local business personnel, resulting in the stands being aptly named 'The Fisher Stand' and 'The Village Stand'.

 

The developments didn't stop there however. Fisher Park had surpassed its lifespan, and the club used the opportunity to install a brand new 3G synthetic pitch to meet the growing training and match needs for the various teams from mini soccer to the first team.

 

Construction began in late 2013, with the facility available for use in early 2014. Not to rest on our laurels, the club has further ambitious development plans to maintain and improve Ballinamallard's first class facilites.

Mallard TV's book

For a comprehensive overview, why not purchase Mallard TV's book 'the history of Ballinamallard United FC' (pictured right)?

 

The book contains 53 double sided pages, full of facts, stories, information, statistics and pictures, covering the period from the clubs formation until the end of the 2013/14 season.

 

Get your brand new copy for the reduced price of £3 (+£1.19 P&P) by emailing bufcsupportersclub@hotmail.co.uk

© 2019 by Ballinamallard Utd FC

Late 1980s