UGAAWA MERIT AWARD For December 2014

December was normally a quiet month in GAA circles, particularly on the playing fields, but things have changed. Now we have the Ulster Men and Women’s Minor Football Championships to light up the dark days plus the likes of Ulster Minor hurling and the USHA Junior Handball Championships to entertain us.

Maybe not action that grabs the interest of all GAA fans but those who don’t pay attention are the losers. Some excellent football is played in the annual U18 tournaments and, this time, history was extended when Watty Graham’s from Glen in Derry stretched their record three-in-a-row to four-in-a-row. An amazing feat at teenage level.

UGAAWA chairman John Martin presenting the December Merit Award to Danny Tallon.

Three Glen players now have four Derry and Ulster minor medals in their collection. All played a major part in winning the fourth award but none more so than score snapper DANNY TALLON, who was central to all that was good in Watty Graham’s victories over O’Donovan Rossa (Antrim), Donaghmoyne (Monaghan) and Southern Gaels (Cavan), after extra time. Tallon scored 2-3, 1-3 and 0-6 in those wins.

However, that wasn’t his only contribution to the winners as he set up a number of other scores and attacks for his colleagues and played in different positions throughout the three matches. The overall contribution from the attacker earns him the UGAAWA Monthly Merit Award for December, even though the final was on New Year’s Day.

Watty Graham's chairman Sean Keane (left) and minor manager Fergal McCusker (right) watches as UGAAWA chairman John Martin presents the December Merit Award to Danny Tallon.

UGAAWA chairman John Martin presents the December Merit Award to Danny Tallon as Cathal Mulholland and Thomas Convery, the other four-in--a-row medallists, look on.

Danny Tallon's sister Rachel, brother Gavin and father Oliver watch as he receives the Dercember award from UGAAWA chairman John Martin.

Watty Graham GAC members gather as UGAAWA chairman John Martin presents the December Award to Danny Tallon. UGAAWA assistant secretary Gerry McLaughlin is third from left back row.

Danny with his UGAAWA December Merit Award and with his Award beside a picture of Watty Graham.

All pics by John McIlwaine.

The scene in the Watty Graham’s Clubrooms in Maghera for the presentation


When told of his award he enthused: “Happy days. It is nice to win such an honour and a lovely addition to my fourth Ulster Minor medal.”

The UUJ undergraduate also collected the Ann–Marie Donnelly Memorial Trophy as ‘Man-of-the-Match’ in the final.

He is no stranger, of course, to winning individual awards as he was also honoured with the individual award in the 2014 Dr MacRory Cup final and in the 2013 Hogan Cup decider.

“Not a bad collection, so far,” quipped the 18-year-old who now looks forward to football life at U21 level and in Freshers’ football at university.

For his December award, Danny Tallon overcame challenges from Beragh handball star Gabhán McCrystal, who won the US Juniors U19 Singles and Doubles (along with Pól Clarke) Championships, for the second year running, and his team mate Conor Glass.

The winner receives an inscribed Belleek Living vase, engraved Silver Cuff Links by Carlingford Design House, training gear from O’Neill’s Sportswear and two tickets plus overnight accommodation for the UGAAWA 2015 banquet. The presentation was made to Danny Tallon at a function in the Watty Graham’s Clubrooms in Maghera on Monday, January 13.