Banquet 2005

As usual, The Great Northern Hotel in Bundoran was the venue on Friday, November 18th for our 2005 banquet - our 18th annual - when almost 700 people enjoyed the occasion at which the annual awards were handed out.

Guests: Among the guests were Uachtaran Sean Kelly and his wife, as well as, Bishop Tony Farguahar, Auxiliary Bishop of Down and Connor and Patron of the Ulster GAA Writers’ Association.

National Trophies: Once again, praise was poured on the occasion with many of the guests describing it as the best yet. The fact that we had an array of national trophies on show added greatly to people’s enjoyment with the Sam Maguire Cup, won by Tyrone, taking pride of place.

Also on display were the Div.1 and Div.2 NFL trophies won by Armagh and Monaghan, respectively, the All-Ireland MFC Cup won by Down and the All-Ireland Ladies’ Junior Championship Trophy, won by Armagh.

Tickets: The clamour for tickets becomes a bigger and bigger headache each year and, unfortunately, some invited guests do not seem to appreciate that point. Some fail to turn up at the function and, therefore, do other people out of the chance of buying tickets. Hundreds were disappointed this year.

Hotel: Manager Philip McGlynn and his staff at the Great Northern Hotel play a big part in the success of the occasion and they must be thanked for their hard work. The five-course meal was served in one hour and five minutes, which surely calls for much organisation by the hotel staff.

Gifts and Prizes: Ladies’ gifts were again provided by Galway Crystal with the men’s gifts provided by O’Neill’s Sports. As usual, Belleek Pottery presented the main trophies to our annual award winners who also received a weekend break in a McEniff Hotel sponsored by Bank of Ireland, specially designed gold cuff links from Garrett Mallon Jewellery Omeath and an inscribed polo shirt from Pro*Star Sport.

Ballot: We are also very thankful to the various people and firms who donated prizes for our charity raffle that raised over £3,500. The recipients of the ballot are the Order of Malta and South Down (Newry) Hospice.

Special Presentation: As Brian Houston, Communications and Sponsorship Manager of Inbrew Ireland, is officially leaving his post early next year, a presentation was made to him. UGAAWA chairman JP Graham handed over a Joe Tinney picture to Brian and UGAAWA treasurer Tony McGee presented him with a voucher for four people to visit The Heritage Golf Club for two nights with two rounds of golf each included.

The good news is that Brian will return to InBrew in a consultancy post for some time and will, as has been the case for 18 years, be looking after our interests and will be at our 2006 banquet, God willing.

Unfortunately, some people saw fit to switch table numbers around and that added confusion to the seating plan that takes many hours to work out.

We were disappointed that former GAA President Paddy McFlynn (86) was unable to attend as he was in hospital for an operation.