It is always difficult at this time of year to name our Merit Award winners. The summer months turn up so many excellent performances from players in all GAA codes and at all levels that some candidates for the award will be disappointed.

Some fans will also disagree with our choice but that is life.

We'd imagine that not too many will argue against BRIAN DOOHER getting the honours for August 2003. The stocky dynamo from north Tyrone has been dynamite in the Red and White jersey over the past month. His tireless running all over the field is part and parcel of Tyrone's game plan.

To say that Brian is the Ulster champions right half-forward is untrue. Yes, he wears the No.10 jersey but he is as often as not on the left side of the field defending as he is on the right attacking. His energy is amazing and against Kerry in the All-Ireland semi-final he covered every inch of Croke Park.

Remember his running out of defence? Remember his recovery from 'being on the floor' on the left of the park to storm through on the right and side-foot a point during the last quarter? Those are just instances of the 27-year-olds energy and usefulness to the team.

Brian is no stranger to receiving award nominations from the Ulster GAA Writers. He won the monthly award for June 2001 and he won the Bass Player of the Year honour for 1996 - his first full year in the Tyrone senior side. Brian joined the panel for the 1995-'96 NFL and made his debut in November '95 against Kildare. He has been a regular ever since.

A member of the Clan na Gael Club, Brian Dooher is a Derry-based vet. He helped his club to rise from Division Three to the top grade, winning league and championship medals on the way, and he collected an All-Ireland MFC medal in 1993. He has, of course, since then won Ulster senior medals and he won a Sigerson Cup medal with UCD in '96.

Armagh goal-snatcher Stevie McDonnell had also a super August but it's Brian Dooher who wins our award of Tennents and Pro*Star sports vouchers plus an inscribed Belleek China vase. He was presented with his award by Tyrone man Seamus Horisk, at a reception in the Ulster Brewery on Tuesday, September 9, 2003.

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