GAA Football

Shea Heffron honoured to receive prestigious Cormac McAnallen Medal for his contribution to Queen's GAC

Shea Heffron receives the Cormac McAnallen Medal from Donal McAnallen. Shea is the seventh recipient of the award

ARMAGH’S Shea Heffron was delighted to leave Queen’s University with a first class honours degree and the prestigious Cormac McAnallen medal.

The Clann Eireann defender, who opted out of the Armagh senior panel this year to concentrate on his studies, was humbled to be the latest recipient of the medal.

The McAnallen medal is awarded to a Queen’s GAC member for their contribution to the the club both on and off the field.

“When I was a first year I actually attended the Cormac McAnallen medal presentation for Michael Monan [2015],” Heffron said.

“John Devaney [Queen’s Past Members’ Union chairman] spoke that day and his words on Cormac still resonate with me and the fact that he was such a leader not just in teams but in his club.

“Reading and hearing so much about Cormac – the likes of Davy Wilson who played with him and who coached me through my school days - all those things kind of make you feel you know the person a little bit, even though it was 15 years before I was playing. The fact that it’s a medal in his honour is something very special. To achieve what he did in a small period of time, he made such an impact on so many people.”

Heffron won back-to-back College Allstars in 2013 and 2014 before breaking into the Armagh set-up. He was Sigerson Cup captain this year.

Heffron added: “You could be the best footballer on the pitch but it’s not just about that, it’s about something more, it’s about giving back a wee bit to the club and the lads off the pitch.

“Cormac was a leader in all aspects of life. One of his areas that I have implemented, based on reading Donal’s [Cormac’s brother] book, is his own self-assessment, his own diary. He would grade himself out of 10 in various aspects of his game, and I aim to do that as much as I possibly can.”

Heffron is the seventh recipient of the Cormac McAnallen medal with Mark Sweeney (2012), Conor Caldwell (2013), Fionnuala McKenna (2014), Michael Monan (2015), Ryan Murray (2016) and Martin O’Reilly (2017) previous winners.

Fourteen years after his untimely passing, Cormac McAnallen’s memory and legacy was marked with the special annual medal presentation in his honour at Queen’s University this week.

Cormac was an exceptional sportsman and his untimely passing in 2004 cut short a remarkable young career.

He played at Queen’s for four years, winning a Sigerson Cup medal in 2000 and a Ryan Cup in 1999. He also added an Ulster and All-Ireland double with Tyrone in 2003 as well as an Allstar.

Cormac graduated from the university with a BA Honours degree in 2001.

The university’s GAA club and Past Members’ Union initiated the annual award in 2012.

John Devaney said: “Shea is a deserving recipient, not simply for his prominent role on and off the field of play, but also because he has displayed strong leadership attributes and modesty and has led by example within the club and in his role as captain.

“We emphasise such qualities when presenting this award, as they reflect what Cormac brought to the GAA at Queen’s and elsewhere.

“We know that this medal has become a prestigious honour and it will hopefully encourage other players and members to aspire to achieving it”.

David Wilson, the head coach of the MacRory Cup and Hogan Cup winning team from St Ronan’s Lurgan, was guest speaker for the event.

David played on Sigerson Cup teams with Cormac in the late nineties. Cormac’s brother Donal McAnallen presented the award.

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