IN terms of results the Western area’s historic appearance in the UEFA Regions’ Cup wasn’t exactly a raging success, however for the players it will no doubt live long in the memory.
The Western Region, representing Northern Ireland for the first time, lost all three of their group games however Harry McConkey’s team were competitive throughout and with a little luck could well have finished second or third in the group.
As expected the boys in green were second best in their opener against firm favourites Turkey (2-0) but in the remaining two games, despite losing both 2-1, McConkey’s men were more a match for Switzerland and the dominant force against Moldova.
In the build-up to the UEFA qualifying tournament the Western Region had found goals had to come by and last week that again proved to be the case.
The two goals that were scored will no doubt be among career highlights for Beragh Swifts’ Stephen Browne and Lee Warnock from Ardstraw.
Warnock scored a soaring header in the final game against Moldova while Browne, who represented the Fermanagh and Western League with distinction, scored a thumping volley in the 2-1 defeat to the Swiss.
There were many other positives from a local perspective.
Dergview representatives, Colin Robinson, Blaine Burns, Kyle Friel-Curran, Richard Lynch and Keelan Mulcahy, the Strabane trio of Conal Crawford, Kyle Harte and Dylan Forbes and Steven Wallace, Newbuildings all gave a good account of themselves and no doubt will be richer for the experience.
Ultimately though football is a results driven business and McConkey and company will have been left wondering what if.