Sales representative DARREN HUGHES certainly marketed his footballing talents during last month with a number of fine displays with both Monaghan and Ulster, playing the true captain’s role.

For his February action, Darren is named as the Quinn-direct Ulster GAA Writers’ Merit Award winner for the Leap Year month but admits his surprise at the honour.

“There were a lot of top games and very good performances, including Loughgiel’s All-Ireland semi-final win and Liam Watson’s 17 points, so I am really surprised at getting the Merit Award for February,” said Darren (25).

“Of course, I’m delighted. It is a great honour. I have been very aware of the monthly Merit Award and I saw that Seamus Quigley won it for January. It is great to get my name among the winners. It is really a privilege.”

It is only his second individual award, the other being named Man-of-the-Match in the Monaghan final last year. However, that honour was somewhat blighted by the fact that Scotstown was beaten by Latton.

Quinn-direct Commercial Manager Shane Wilson (right) presenting Darren Hughes with his February Monthly Merit Award

“My only other awards have been the recent Railway Cup (Interprovincial Championship) medal, a Sigerson Cup medal won with UUJ in ’08, a Compromise Rules medal and a Senior League medal with my club,” he recounts. It is not too bad a list!

Hughes is a firm supporter of the interpro series and hopes that it is better treated and restored to a permanent place in the calendar.

For his February 2012 Merit Award, he overcame the opposition of Owen Mulligan (Tyrone) and Liam Watson (Loughgiel). The presentation was made to Darren, at a function in Paudge Quinn’s Corner on Monday, March 5, by Quinn-direct Commercial Area Manager Shane Wilson.

The award includes an engraved Belleek Living vase, specially designed silver cuff links by Omeath jeweller Garrett Mallon, an UGAAWA Sports Voucher and training gear from O’Neill’s International Sports. He will also receive two complimentary tickets and overnight accommodation for the UGAAWA Silver Jubilee banquet, at the Great Northern Hotel on Friday, November 16.

UGAAWA Chairman JP Graham (left) and Quinn-direct Commercial Area Manager Shane Wilson presenting Darren Hughes with his February Merit Award. Also in picture are Matt Fitzpatrick, UGAAWA Asst. Treasurer and Tony McGee, UGAAWA Treasurer.

All Photos by Peadar McMahon