Ferns heading back to the top
Division 1 won the hard way
Ferns United are heading back to the promised land of the Wexford Soccer League Premier Division next season after clinching the Division 1 title in the final game of this campaign with a 2-0 victory away at Forth Celtic.
They did it the hard way, coming from the pack after a slow start before winning twelve of their final 14 games to take the crown just ahead of Rosslare Rangers, who will join them in the top tier next year.
The Ferns team every season is heavily populated by guys playing the Gaelic sports. They also lost Dickie Redmond to a broken leg in pre-season. It all meant that in the early weeks of the season they had to rely on 'B' team regulars like Brian Fortune and John O'Leary to make up the numbers.
Those men acquitted themselves well but the would-be champions were only able to pick up eight points out of a possible 18 in that initial spell. Things changed when they put seven past Forth Celtic in October and they went from strength to strength thereafter.
Just two draws against runners-up Rosslare Rangers partly blotted a supreme run of 14 unbeaten games.
The penultimate tie of the season turned out to be the key clash with a hard-fought 1-0 victory against third place Bunclody setting up the clincher against Celtic.
Ferns boast an experienced team which has by-and-large been together for a while. John Thorpe formed the bedrock of the side with a great season in goal while his brother, Derek, bossed the midfield time and again.
Ryan Nolan proved a great addition to the side on his return from Bohemians, Mark Redmond came in from Enniscorthy Town and settled in seamlessly, while Tomás Hawkins had a great season at sweeper.
Dropping back to Division 2 of the league are former greats of soccer in the county, Wexford Celtic and Ajax Athletic.
The sides combined for just seven wins between them but will hope for an immediate bounce-back next year.
Squad: John Thorpe, Patrick Skelton, Frank Devereux, Tomás Hawkins, Martin Redmond, Tony Cleere, Derek Thorpe, Tommy Dwyer, John Breen, Benny Jordan, Jonny Dwyer, Ryan Nolan, Mark Redmond, James Byrne, James Tonks, Paddy Rossiter, Anthony Dwyer, Peter Nolan, Keith Breen, Colm Whelan, Brian Fortune, John O'Leary.
Management: Martin Redmond (player/manager), John Doyle, Gary Breslin, Eugene Breen.