Not often do we have two high profile All-Ireland SFC games in the month of August but we did this year and it was Donegal that lit the football fireworks.

Rarely, have we seen such determination and energy displayed in close together national quarter-finals and semi-finals by a team but the Tir Connail men, starters and replacements alike, drew oceans of praise from friend and foe alike.

Picking a Quinn-direct/UGAAWA Merit Award winner for the month was no easy task as most of the Donegal Players would have been a worthy recipient and there were other performances during the month, as well, which merited close consideration – like Cathriona McConnell’s 3-3 blitz for Monaghan against Mayo in the All-Ireland Ladies’ SFC quarter-final.

John P Graham, Chairman of the UGAAWA, and Eileen McManus, Human Resource Officer with Quinn-direct, present Mark McHugh with his award. Click on this image above to hear what John had to say.

However, it is MARK McHUGH who gets the nod for his all-over-Croke Park display as he handled defence and attack with equal ease, opening scoring gaps for his colleagues and backing up his defenders.

It was reminiscent of a remark made by an English journalist after watching Kevin Moran with Dublin in an All-Ireland final, shortly after he had joined Manchester Utd.

“Moran can sort out United’s defensive, midfield and forward problems all on his own,” quipped the journalist.

“It is a real honour to get this award from pundits of the game and I am absolutely delighted,” beamed accountancy undergraduate Mark (22) who has two USFC medals, a Donegal U21 and two Division 2 FL Donegal awards.

“Just one more step to go for us now. This award is brilliant and it is a reflection on how the team played, as much as how I played,” he added.

The presentation was made to Mark by Eileen McManus, Quinn-direct Human Resource Officer, at a function in Quinn’s Corner, Ballygawley, on Monday, Sept 3rd.

Michael Breslin, Sligo IT, and Jophn Graham with Mark McHugh at the presentation function.

On right we have members of the UGAAWA with Eileen McManus as she presents the award to Mark McHugh.

Click on the image above to hear a short interview with Mark, conducted by UGAAWA member, Gerry McLoughlin

All pictures by Peadar McMahon

His fisted point, just before half-time, against Cork was an important score. He took the ball out of his own defence and 8.7 seconds later he had it over the Cork bar!

Dad Martin won the Monthly Merit Award twice and Mark says that he has got to get an All-Ireland medal before it can be said ‘Like father, like son’.

He was pushed for the August Award by Cathriona McConnell with Neil Gallagher also in the frame but it is Mark McHugh who collected the award of:

a. an engraved Belleek Living vase,

b. etched silver cuff links from Omeath jeweller Garrett Mallon,

c. training gear from O’Neill’s International Sports and

d. a voucher from the Ulster GAA Writers’ Association.

He will also get two tickets and overnight accommodation for the UGAAWA’s Silver Jubilee banquet on November 16, at the Great Northern Hotel, Bundoran.


mark mchugh.wma mark mchugh interview.wma