Fermanagh's Eimear Smyth wins Ulster GAAWA monthly merit award for April
MIXING sport and studies does not seem to be a big problem for Eimear Smyth.
The Mount Lourdes, Enniskillen A-level student is handling both pretty well just now as the last month, during which she played a major role in Fermanagh’s climb out of Division Four of the Lidl National Football League, will testify.
April is a month that will live long in her memory and she has carried on her winning ways into the past weekend, helping her county earn promotion to Division Three.
All the while she was studying for important exams that she hopes will lead her to UCD, where she wants to study sports science.
In the league semi-final against Limerick, the Derrygonnelly Harps goalscorer played a prominent role in hauling Fermanagh back from a deficit of 4-6 to 1-4 at half-time to defeat the Shannonsiders by 2-15 to 4-7. It was fitting that Smyth, deadly accurate from both play and frees, rifled over two late points to seal success.
In that amazing performance by the Ulster side, Smyth blasted home a goal and 12 points, with her fantastic display earning her the UGAAWA Quinn Building Products Merit Award for April.
After completing a biochemistry exam in Enniskillen, she travelled to Quinn’s Corner Roadhouse in Donaghmore to collect the honour and then headed home to Derrygonnelly to join her club-mates for a training session.
“It can be a bit difficult sometimes to get time for both studies and training and you have to manage your time well,” Smyth (18) said.
“It is important to have some relaxation and, thankfully, I have a few weeks before my next exams.
“Of course, we have an Ulster Championship game coming up next month when we again meet Antrim so it is mostly all studying and training at present – not much time for anything else.
“It will be the third time we have played Antrim this season and hopefully we can keep up our performances against them.”
Eimear was presented with her award by Quinn’s sales and marketing director, Seamus McMahon.
“I’m delighted with this monthly award. Many great players have received this merit award over the years and it is a great honour to be listed among them,” she added.
It is the second time Smyth has been honoured by the UGAAWA. She also won the Cormac McAnallen Young Achiever Award for 2017.
She receives an engraved Belleek Living vase, training gear from O’Neills International Sportswear and jewellery from Garrett Mallon’s Carlingford Design House.
She was a clear April winner despite a strong challenge from Paul Brady, who bounced back from the bitter disappointment of injury ruling him out of the World Handball Championships last August to once again win the PGA Pro Stop event in New York.
Also considered was Konrad Kowal, who became the first Polish-born player to win an All-Ireland Handball Championship when he partnered Eoghan McGinnity to clinch the minor doubles title for Monaghan.