Hurling and camogie

Peter Harte heads list of Ulster GAA Writers awards

Tyrone's Peter Harte evades the attention of Cahir McCullagh of Fermanagh during a recent Dr McKenna Cup clash at Clones
Tony McGee

A dozen of Ulster's brightest GAA stars were awarded last night for their endeavours during 2016 when the Ulster GAA Writers handed out their annual gongs at a presentation function in the Four Seasons Hotel, in Monaghan.

Men and women footballers, hurlers, camogie players and handballers were joined by winners from GAA culture and by dedicated people who have given a lifetime service to the GAA.

It is the only annual presentation function that brings together winners from all branches of the sport.

The year just past was a pretty good one for the likes of Peter Harte and Chrissie McKaigue, who collected championship medals in football and hurling – Harte at county level in football and McKaigue on the double with his club Slaughtneil.

Harte's superb clinching point won the Anglo Celt Cup for Tyrone and he received the Male Footballer of the Year award.

McKaigue played football and hurling side-by-side with Slaughtneil Shamrocks and captained the hurlers to Ulster senior club success. For his exploits he was honoured with the Hurler of the Year Award.

It was good year, too, for the female footballers of Donaghmoyne who were the only adult All-Ireland Championship winners from the northern province. For that, two awards went to the Fontenoy's club as manager Francie Coleman won the Personality of the Year and the All-Ireland winners won the Team of the Year.

All last night's winners, in whatever sphere they excelled, had their success added to by being honoured with a UGAAWA annual trophy.

History was made when Antoin and Mairead Fox were jointly named winners of the Handball Award, that covers all aspects of that sport. The Loughmacrory teenagers were not only the first brother and sister to be joint winners of any of the annual awards but, also, the youngest ever winners, at 14 and 15, of any of the dozen awards.

In fact, they might have won the Young Achiever Award, too, as both Antoin and Mairead as noted footballers at club, college and county levels.

 Anton and Mairead Fox with GAA President Michael Hasson and Chairman of Ulster GAA  John Martin. Picture by Peadar McMahon

However, with 27 handball titles won, last year, at home and abroad, between them the Fox siblings they had little opposition in handball.

Collecting the Cormac McAnallen Young Achiever Award was former rally driver Ben Crealey, the 19-year-old who stepped into the Maghery team and helped the Sean McDermott's win the Armagh SFC for the first time. Not only that but, in his first year in football, he also gained a place in the county senior squad.

Many GAA clubs are involved in culture with Saul deeply involved in many aspects of Irishism.

Their attendtion to the Scor competitions netted them the All-Ireland Ballad Group trophy last year and they added the annual Cultural Award last night.

History was also made when the John McAviney Services to the GAA Award was made posthumously to the late Thomas Cassidy from Slaughtneil.

The chairman has a free rein when it comes to naming the winner of his or her annual award and John Martin opted for the Ulster Wheelchair hurling team that collected national honours last year.

Ulster GAA Writers' Annual Award Winner for 2016
Male Footballer – Peter Harte (Tyrone).
Female Footballer – Ciara McAnespie (Monaghan).
Hurler – Chrissie McKaigue (Slaughtneil).
Handball – Antoin & Mairead Fox, jointly (Loughmacrory).
Camogie – Colette McSorley (Armagh).
Club – Slaughtneil (Derry).
Team – Donaghmoyne Female Footballers (Monaghan).
Young Achiever – Ben Crealey (Maghery).
Cultural – Saul St Patrick's (Down).
Communications – Sean Kelly (Antrim).
Personality – Francie Coleman (Donaghmoyne).
Services to the GAA – Late Thomas Cassidy (Slaughtneil).
Chairman's Award – Ulster Wheelchair Hurling Team.

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Hurling and camogie