Banquet 2008

For the first time in over a dozen years, the Ulster GAA Writers’ annual banquet was moved from Bundoran to Monaghan with the function staged at the Hillgrove Hotel with the backing of Tennent’s Ireland on November 1.

Almost 600 people attended this 21st staging of the yearly GAA bonanza when the Ulster GAA Writers present their Oscars of the year, covering almost all aspects of Gaelic Games and when the major silverware won during the year is on display.

For the first time, both the Sam Maguire Cup and the National League Trophy was on display along with the Tom Markham Cup (All-Ireland MFC trophy), the Hogan Cup, the All-Ireland Schools’ Individual Championship trophy and the Sigerson Cup.

Also on display were the Ulster SFC trophy won by Armagh, the Tommy Murphy Cup won by Antrim, the Walsh Hurling Cup won by Antrim also, MacRory Cup collected by Dungannon St Patrick’s and the Ulster Club Hurling Championship Cup, won by Cushendall.

Among the guests who attended the function were Ulster GAA officials, President Tom Daly, Treasurer Martin McAviney and PRO Michael Hasson. Also there were Tennent’s MD Tom McCusker and John Maguire, MD of Belleek Pottery who provide the superb trophies for the annual winners. Belleek Pottery also provide the ladies’ gifts and Galway Crystal present the VIP awards while the UGAAWA provide the men’s gifts.

Players who captained All-Ireland winning teams during 2008 were also awarded with bronze statuettes sponsored by Nigel McBride of Country Fare, Portadown. The recipients were Brian Dooher (Tyrone – All-Ireland SFC) who was absent and manager Mickey Harte received the trophy, Kevin McCloy (Derry – NFL), Ronan McNabb (Tyrone – All-Ireland MFC), Ryan Pickering (St Patrick’s Dungannon – Hogan Cup), Peter Donnelly (UUJ – Sigerson Cup) and Paul Devlin (St Malachy’s Castlewellan – All-Ireland Vocational Schools’ Football).

At the start of the function the All-Ireland trophies were carried in by the winning captains, apart from the Sam Maguire Cup that was carried by Tyrone player Ciarán Gourley, deputising for Brian Dooher who was absent.

The Chairman’s Award was presented to Ulster President Tom Daly by Sean McMahon, chairman of the UGAAWA.

The annual awards winners each received a specially designed and inscribed Belleek China trophy plus UGAAWA silver cuff links (for men) and broaches (for women) compliments of Omeath jeweller Garrett Mallon, a voucher for two nights B&B plus one dinner in any of Brian McEniff Hotels, sponsored by Ulster Bank, and training gear from O’Neill’s International Sports.

The Young Achiever of the Year also gets a bursary from Acheson & Glover.

Sean Cavanagh was winner of the Footballer of the Year Award but unable to attend because of being in Australia, captaining the Irish International Rules team. A taped interview with Sean was shown and his father, Teddy, received the award on his son’s behalf.

The full list of Prizewinners can be seen HERE