Oh, yes, there was much action in the AIB Ulster Club football and hurling Championships during October. There was also All-Ireland Camogie and Ladies' Football action but for the first time in nine years we had the World Handball Championships hosted by Ireland.

And it's to handball that the honours go for OCTOBER 2003. Over-shadowing everything, without doubt, was the success of Fiona Shannon and Paul Brady, as they both took gold as winners of the women's and men's World Open Singles Championships.

There is no higher honour that one can achieve and we deviate from our normal practice of a single monthly winner to give our November 2003 Tennent's Monthly Merit Award jointly to Fiona and Paul. There were other Irish winners in the World Championships but at lower levels.

Paul Brady is the first man representing Ireland to win the men's World Singles title as Joey Maher, from Dundalk, was playing out of Canada when he won many years ago. This is Paul's second Tennent's Monthly Merit Award this season as he was also honoured for, in December, becoming the first Irish player to win a Pro-Stop event in the US.

Fiona is the second Irish woman to win the World title but she has closed a 20-years' gap as it is that long since Sue Carey took the honours.

The Handball Championships showed a high degree of sportsmanship - something that is not usually found in international sport. When Paul went down with cramp in the final, his opponent Tony Healy waved aside his right to claim victory.

There were special moments last month also for Killyclogher, winners of the Tyrone SFC title for the first time with victory over Ulster holder Errigal-Ciaran, for Loup regaining the Derry SFC crown after a lapse of 67 years, Gweedore minors who took the Donegal honours after a gap of 46 years and Four Masters, the first Donegal team to win an Ulster SFC match since 1994.

All creditable shows but not comparable with the deeds of Fiona Shannon and Paul Brady who receives sports vouchers from Tennent's Ireland and Pro*Star Sports, a specially engraved Belleek China vase and jewellery from Garrett Mallon of Cloicin. The presentation was made by Bass Public Relations Manager, Brian Houston, to the winners at a function in the Ulster Brewery on Wednesday, November 5.

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