GAA Football

Tyrone prospect Darragh Canavan out to make his own name in the game

Tyrone U17 footballer Darragh Canavan receives the Ulster GAA Writers' Merit Award for August from Quinn Building Contracts Tyrone and Derry area manager Marty McGrath, with UGAAWA chairman John Martin (centre).
Tony McGee

DARRAGH Canavan is not aiming to walk in the footsteps of his dad Peter. He wants to make his own way in the football world and he has made a pretty good start to doing that with a string of awards already collected this year.

"I don't remember much about my dad's career as I was too young at the time but, of course, I have heard a lot about his deeds. However, that doesn't put any pressure on me to live up to what he did. I will never be my dad, I'm my own person and I want to set my own standards," stressed Darragh.

He showed pretty high standards when helping Tyrone win the All-Ireland U17 Championship against Roscommon, at Croke Park, with his general play plus hitting three points from play and a stunning goal that would have made Peter proud in his day.

"I don't know if it was a stunning goal or not," said Darragh, "but I was certainly glad to see it go in. Of course, being the first winners of the competition makes the success a bit more special."

Adding to that is the fact that his Croke Park performance had earned him the Quinn Building Products sponsored Ulster GAA Writers' Merit Award for August, which he received at a reception in Quinn's Corner, Donaghmore, just hours after returning to college following his summer break.

Three times winner of the award Marty McGrath, Quinn's Building Products Tyrone and Derry area manager, and UGAAWA chairman John Martin made the presentation.

"It is very nice to get this award and it adds greatly to winning the All-Ireland title. I have been very lucky to play in the Tyrone U17 team this year under our manager Collie Holmes. It was a great experience and, hopefully, there will be more awards like this to come," reflected Canavan Mark Two.

Peter, of course, was no stranger to winning the UGAAWA Merit Award as he collected a record seven during his career.

It has been a super year, so far, for Darragh as he has collected All-Ireland and Ulster U17 Championship medals, a Tyrone MFC medal with Errigal Ciarán and a Dr MacLarnon Cup medal with his college. He now looks forward to further action.

"St Ciarán's will play in the MacRory Cup this season and I am looking forward greatly to that, also to the Ulster Club Minor Football Championship, at St Paul's, so there is more action to come," says Canavan who, after winning a few underage handball awards had to give up that code because of pressure of football and studies.

August was teenage time as far as top displays were concerned in Gaelic Games and to get the Merit Award the winner had to beat off a strong challenge from Lorcan McWilliams, who starred with Derry minors in their All-Ireland semi-final defeat of Dublin. Fermanagh teenager Eimear Smyth, who netted four goals plus seven points against Antrim in the Ulster Ladies' JFC final was also in the spotlight.

Apart from the engraved Belleek Living Vase, Darragh Canavan receives specially designed and engraved silver cuff links from Carlingford Design House and training gear from O'Neill's International Sportswear. He will also receive two tickets to the next UGAAWA annual presentation function.

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