Pic: Philip Fitzpatrick

Things get better by the day for Monaghan and Donaghmoyne football star Catriona McConnell as hard on the heels of winning an All-Ireland Ladies’ SFC medal comes the news that she has won the Quinn-direct Ulster GAA Writers’ Merit Award for November.

Her honour doesn’t include her deeds last Sunday, in the senior club final against Carnacon, as the selection was made before the weekend, the national decider being in December. It, of course, gives her and her Donaghmoyne club mates a toe in the door for this month’s award.

“Getting the news that I was the Merit Award winner for November, before the All-Ireland final, was a great boost to me,” says Catriona. “I’m delighted with the award and getting it, along with the All-Ireland medal, makes this a really special time for me. I’m absolutely thrilled. It’s brilliant.”

McConnell must now be well used to getting awards and medals. Donaghmoyne have won the last 10 Monaghan SFC titles and Catriona played in nine of those victories. She also has seven or eight (she can’t remember which) Monaghan SFL medals.

Of course, she also has previous other Ulster and All-Ireland medals with club and county and a NFL award this year.

“The first Monaghan championship final, I played in, was on my 16th birthday and that one will always be very special,” she recalls. “You never get fed up with winning awards and, naturally, winning an All-Ireland medal and the Ulster GAA Writers’ Award on the same weekend makes this a very special time, for me, too.”

Topping up her trophy list during November was a national Allstar award and the Croke Park Hotel ‘Player of the Month’ honour.

When Donaghmoyne defeated Wexford champions Shelmaliers in the All-Ireland semi-final last month, McConnell rifled over 12 points in the Monaghan team’s 1-21 to 0-7 victory. That was more than enough to catapult Catriona, a fourth and final year Early Child Level Studies student in Dundalk, into the shop window for any award.

It surpassed the deeds of Darragh O’Hanlon, who starred with Kilcoo in the defeat of St Gall’s, and Maggie Farrelly, who had the rare distinction of refereeing the Cavan men’s SFL final.

Catriona McConnell will receive her November Monthly Award of a Belleek Living engraved vase, specially designed jewellery from Garrett Mallon (Omeath) and training gear from O’Neill’s International Sports at Friday night’s UGAAWA Silver Jubilee Banquet in the Great Northern Hotel, Bundoran.

By Tony McGee