THE NORTHERN STANDARD/ MONAGHAN GAA ANNUAL AWARDS

28 January 2016 No Comments by The Northern Standard

By JOHN GRAHAM

The Hillgrove Hotel, Monaghan, was en fete on Friday night last for the biggest occasion in the GAA’s social calendar in the County, Annual Awards night when all that was best, both on and off the field, during 2015 was acknowledged with the presentation of the various playing awards, the acknowledgement of outstanding service by club officials, special presentations to the referees who handled the various league and championship finals in 2015 and the induction of two former County players into the Monaghan GAA Hall of Fame.

The occasion was further enhanced by the fact that it doubled up as the presentation function for the County senior football team to receive their Ulster senior football championship medals following their victory over Donegal in an absolute thriller in Clones in July of last year.

All that made for an occasion when it was superlatives all the way, the best team in Ulster was present, some of the best players in Ireland were present, the top player in the Ulster senior football club championship, Darren Hughes, was present and the top forward in the country, Conor McManus, was also on the podium.

For two players it was an extra special occasion in that it was the second time in a week that they were accepting accolades of excellence as both Darren Hughes and Rockcorry’s Niall McKeown were the recipients of Gaelic Life Ulster club awards the previous Friday night in the Hillgrove Hotel.

There were also a number of special presentations on the night, special merit award presentations for outstanding service to Tom Freeman, Magheracloone, and John Heaphey, Scotstown and a special accolade for County legend Owen Lennon who announced his retirement from football at all levels in the last couple of weeks, as well as a Special Recognition Award for Martin McAviney as he completes his three years as President of the Ulster Council, all of which made for a glittering occasion that was hosted by Bean aTi. Grainne McElwain of TG4.

There were a couple of short intermissions in the proceedings when the big attendance, over 400 guests, were entertained by Lisa Rose McMahon, of Donaghmoyne, with her rendition of Don’t Rain On My Parade, Aoife McCabe, Latton, an excellent exponent of Sean Nos Dancing and some traditional airs from the All Ireland winning Drumhowan Instrumental Scor na nOg Group.

County chairman Padraig Sherry had warm words of welcome for all of the guests on the night, the award winners, with special mention for those who were being inducted into the Hall of Fame and a huge welcome for the County team that had brought such honour and prestige to Monaghan during 2015.

Following a sumptuous meal, the first item on the agenda was the presentation of the Ulster senior football championship medals to the Monaghan panel by outgoing President of the Ulster Council, Martin McAviney, who paid tribute to the team and the team management for their achievements last year. He also paid tribute to retiring Ulster delegate to Gerry Duffy who had chaired the Coaching Committee at provincial level and to John Heaphey and Tom Freeman on their Special Merit Awards, while his tribute to retiring County player, Owen Lennon, brought a round of …

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