This is Conor Laverty’s seventh year in the Down Senior Football panel and he is currently riding Cloud Lucky Seven as the Red and Blacks prepare for the Ulster SFC final, against Donegal, on July 22, at Clones.

A large slice of the credit for the Mournemen reaching the decider must be given to the Kilcoo man as it was his lively performances against Fermanagh and Monaghan that catapulted Down into the decider.

For the role that CONOR LAVERTY played in Down’s march to the final, he is our Quinn-direct/UGAAWA’s Monthly Merit Award winner for June, beating Donegal ‘keeper Paul Durkan to the honour.

“I hope I beat Paul a few times in the Ulster final, as well,” quipped Laverty who was credited with a goal against Fermanagh and who snatched three points against Monaghan as he led Down’s second-half amazing resurgence.

“It is a great honour for me to get this award going into the Ulster final which will be the biggest game of my career. I wasn’t included in the team for the All-Ireland final so starting in the Ulster final, which I hope I do, makes it my biggest game to date,” says Conor (27).

So far, the tricky corner-forward has collected an Ulster U21 FC medal, a Down SFC award and five Down SFL trophies. He missed a Dr McKenna Cup success because of injury.

Presently, Conor works as a GAA Development Officer at Trinity College and, before that, he was a Primary Schools coach in Down. He travels daily to Dublin from his Kilcoo home and his only regret, at present, is that he hasn’t time to try and trim his golf 12-handicap to single figures.

For his June award Conor collects an engraved Belleek Living vase, specially designed silver cuff links from Omeath jeweller Gareth Mallon, training gear from O’Neill’s International Sports and a sports voucher from the UGAAWA. He will also receive two tickets and overnight accommodation for the UGAAWA Silver Jubilee banquet at the Great Northern Hotel, Bundoran, on November 16.

The presentation was made by Chris Breen, Quinn-direct Business Risk Specialist, to Conor at a function in Quinn’s Corner on Monday 9 July.

All photographs © Michael Cullen