It is Crossmaglen Rangers on the double as two of their players make history with back-to-back Quinn Insurance/Ulster GAA Writers’ Monthly Merit awards, as the provincial champions head into next Sunday’s All-Ireland Club quarter-final.

The wintry weather prevented the November honour being presented last month so it was a double presentation this time with Cross players Tony Kernan and Jamie Clarke stepping up to receive their awards at a reception in Quinn’s Corner.

Kernan (24) was the man who put the spark into the Rangers’ bid to unseat Ulster and All-Ireland titleholders St Gall’s (Belfast) in early November and then hit three very useful points, one from a ‘45’, in the Down champions’ narrow win over Burren in the provincial semi-final.

“That win over St Gall’s was massive for us. A huge victory as we had not even been favourites to win out in Armagh last year. To win the county title and then beat the All-Ireland champions was quite a boost for us. Winning this award is, certainly, quite a personal boost for me,” stresses Kernan who has now collected four Ulster championship medals.

That’s one medal more than Jamie Clarke (21) has to his credit. “I was only a child when Tony was winning his first medal,” jokes Jamie.

Clarke really jumped to attention during the Ulster final hitting a goal and two points and setting up another goal for Oisin McConville against Glenties. He also contributed to other Crossmaglen scores in that decider.

“Of course, getting this award adds greatly to winning the Ulster Championship and a good boost to me going into the All-Ireland quarter-final,” says the December winner.

It’s the first time in the 24 years history of the Monthly Merit awards that players from the same club have won back-to-back honours. Tony Kernan also keeps a family tradition going as his brothers Stephen and Paul plus dad Joe have been winners in the past. Now 16 awards have gone to the Crossmaglen club.

The presentations to the winners were made by Colum Courtney, Private Lines Manager with Quinn Insurance with both players receiving an UGAAWA sports voucher, an engraved Belleek China vase, specially designed silver cuff links from Omeath jeweller Garrett Mallon and training gear from O’Neill’s International Sports.

They will also get two tickets and overnight accommodation for the Ulster GAA Writers’ banquet next November.

By Tony McGee

On the left is Tony Kernan and on the right is Jamie Clarke and they are pictured above with Colum Courtney, Private Lines Manager Quinn Insurance  and also with Crossmaglen Rangers club members: Paul Kernan, Thomas McKenna(Club Treasurer), Liam Lynch (Club Executive), and Aaron Kernan.


On left we picture Colum Courtney, Enniskillen Manager Quinn Insurance, presenting the Quinn Insurance Ulster GAA Writers Association November Award to Tony Kernan, Crossmaglen Rangers.

On right, we picture Colum Courtney, Enniskillen Manager Quinn Insurance, presenting the Quinn Insurance Ulster GAA Writers Association December Award to Jamie Clarke, Crossmaglen Rangers.