June was a rare month, the busiest for a long time. Down footballers had three-and-a-half games, Tyrone had two-and-a-half, Armagh and Derry had two apiece, Fermanagh, Donegal and Cavan had one each.

All counties, apart from Fermanagh, had hurling games. There were also camogie and ladies’ championship matches and Paul Brady retained the US Open Handball title in Kansas. More than enough for us to discuss as we argued about who would win our Tennent’s Merit Award for June.

In the end, the decision came down to Down football captain DAN GORDON who was a colossus in midfield for the Mournemen in their three-and-a-half games, the winning marathon over Tyrone and then, even in defeat by Armagh, he still stood out. No fault of his that Down lost the Ulster semi-final.

“This award is a big consolation for losing the semi-final, although that was very disappointing. I’m delighted with the award and it is a boost to me going in against Offaly in the qualifiers next Saturday,” says Dan who led Down to McKenna Cup success in January and who has also two Railway Cup medals in his drawer.

Gordon eventually won our award over our May winner Fermanagh captain Marty McGrath, who was superb against Derry, and Armagh’s Ronan Clarke, who shone against Down. Also noted for his performance against Derry was Tommy McElroy (Fermanagh), while Jane Adams was again outstanding with Antrim in camogie and Paul Brady’s achievement in Kansas has got to be mentioned.

As his award, Dan Gordon receives a Tennent’s Ireland sports voucher, an engraved Belleek China vase, specially designed silver cuff links from Omeath jeweller Gareth Mallon and training gear from O’Neill’s International Sports. He will also receive two tickets plus overnight accommodation to our 2008 banquet. The presentation was made at the Ulster Brewery on Wednesday, July 8, by Jeff Tosh, Regional Controller, InBev Ireland.

On the left Down football captain Dan Gordon, receiving his Tennent's/UGAAWA Merit Award for June 2008 from Jeff Tosh, Regional Controller, InBev Ireland, at a reception held at the Ulster Brewery. On right Dan is pictured with Matt Fitzpatrick, UGAAWA Secretary.

© Houston Green Photography

Down Midfielder Dan Gordon, Centre, who was awarded the Tennent's/UGAAWA Monthly Merit Award at a reception held in the Ulster Brewery. Celebrating his success are Matt Fitzpatrick, UGAAWA Secretary; Gerry Toman, Chairman Loughlinisland GAC; Donal Gordon, Dan's father and Kevin Bell, Down County Chairman.

© Houston Green Photography