GAA Football

Lámh Dhearg's Paddy Cunningham unsure if he could hack a return to county football

Paddy Cunningham with Séamus McMahon of Quinn Building Products
Tony McGee

LÁMH Dhearg sharpshooter Paddy Cunningham has put himself in the shop window for a recall to the Antrim senior football team after his scoring displays during the club's county championship marathon.

However, the number 13 is not sure that, even if he did get a recall, committing himself to the rigours of county football once again would be possible.

During the three-game epic with Portglenone in the county semi-final, he was in excellent scoring form. In four outings, he totted up a tally of 3-19, including 3-4 in one game and 0-11 in another, to help the Hannahstown team into the Antrim SFC final in which he added eight points. It wasn't enough, however, to see his team over the line against Cargin.

“I would love to get back into county football,” said the 34-year-old St Mary's CBGS PE instructor, “but I don't know how practical that might be. I have three young children now - aged 12, six and three - so being involved again in county football might be a little difficult. However, a comeback is not in my hands. It is up to others to decide that.”

Cunningham played in the Antrim senior team for 11 years, during which time he captained them to an Ulster Senior Championship final. He also won a Sigerson Cup medal with UUJ.

Whatever about the future, he lit up last month with his scoring achievements which have earned him the Quinn Building Contracts UGAAWA Merit award for September in the face of strong opposition from many other players who produced top line performances.

“It is a great honour to win this award and I am very grateful to the Ulster GAA Writers for honouring me with it,” Cunningham said at a presentation function in Quinn's Corner Roadhouse when he received his award from Quinn Building Products sales and marketing director Séamus McMahon.

“It does help a little to sooth the pain of defeat in the final, although we are very disappointed in not beating Cargin. We just couldn't get over the line, even in extra-time.”

In fact, Cunningham and Lámh Dhearg have now lost in seven county finals, six before they won the 2017 decider against St John's.

Close behind Paddy Cunningham in the race for the September honour were long serving players Kevin Cassidy, who was a major cog in Derrygonnelly winning a fifth in-a-row of Fermanagh SFC titles, and Ballybay ace Paul Finlay.

The winner receives an engraved Belleek Living vase, compliments of the county Fermanagh pottery, training gear from O'Neill's International Sportswear and engraved silver cuff links, compliments of Carlingford Design House.

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