UGAAWA MERIT AWARD For September 2014

No-one could blame Neil McGee for slumping to the green sward of Croke Park on the final whistle in the All-Ireland SFC final. He had given his all, and even more, in Donegal’s cause but the huge effort of the Tir Connail team just narrowly failed to land the Sam Maguire Cup.

The 28-year-old Gweedore man had put the shackles on the golden boy of Kerry football, James O’Donoghue, but it wasn’t enough. In any other situation Neil’s performance would have earned him the ‘Man of the Match’ award.

It may be only crumbs of consolation but the Donegal defender wins the Ulster GAA Writers’ Merit Award for September and he greatly appreciates the honour.

“After a tough few weeks, any award is a pick-me-up and I’m delighted to the Monthly Merit Award. The All-Ireland doesn’t mean much now. A win wasn’t to be and we now have turned our attentions to the club championship. We are still at the group stages and we are due to play Termon this weekend,” said Neil when told of his award.

It is doubtful, however, if he will be in action on Sunday as he was struck down with ‘flu this week. Just a few hours before the presentation he telephoned to say he was ill in bed and asked if his brother Peter could accept the award on his behalf. That, of course, was agreed.

So far, middle McGee brother Neil has collected quite a few awards along the way. He has one All-Ireland Celtic Cross, three Ulster SFC medals, National Football League Division One and Division Two medals, five All-Ireland Gaeltacht Championship awards plus two Donegal SFC and two Donegal SFL awards.

Now he adds the UGAAWA Monthly Merit Award for September to his already impressive haul.

This latest award earns him the inscribed Belleek Living Vase, training gear from O’Neill’s International Sports, specially designed and engraved silver cuff links from Carlingford Design House and a UGAAWA sports voucher plus two tickets and overnight accommodation for the association’s 27th annual banquet at the Great Northern Hotel on November 1.

Younger brother, Peter, collects the award for Neilfrom UGAAWA vice-chairman, John P. Graham.