December is often a gloomy month but it is usually lit up by the Northern Bank Ulster Club Minor Football action at St Paul’s GAC in Belfast. December 2009 was no exception and certainly lighting up the battles was Kilcoo full-back Darragh O’Hanlon.

The competition didn’t end on a high for the 16-year-old No.3 as his team lost the final in January to Omagh St Enda’s but Darragh had a month of high profile exhibitions of which he can be justly proud. Not only did he display his defensive qualities but he also found time to go up front and hit valuable points from both play and free-kicks. He also switched positions some times and wherever he played he left his mark.

For the part that Darragh O’Hanlon played in taking Kilcoo Eoghan Rua to the final he earns our Quinn-insurance Monthly Merit Award for December.

“It is certainly brilliant to win this award and makes up in some way for losing the minor final. I was very pleased with the tournament but it could have ended better. Anyhow, this award it great,” says Darragh.

The St Malachy’s (Castlewellan) student has already won a list of medals on the field. He has won two All-Ireland schools titles with St Malachy’s, an All-Ireland Feili with Kilcoo and a hat-trick of Down U16 Championships. He was also corner-back last year on the Down minor side that reached the Ulster final against Armagh.

Darragh gets his award ahead of Lavey camogie captain Siobhan Convery and her team mates who won the All-Ireland Junior Club title and he received his presentation, at a function on Wednesday, February 10, from Quinn-insurance Commercial Manager Martin Higgins, also well-known as a referee. Darragh gets a £150 sports voucher, an engraved Belleek China vase, specially engraved silver cuff links from Garrett Mallon (Omeath) and training gear from O’Neill’s International Sports.

He will also receive two tickets and overnight accommodation for the UGAAWA annual banquet next winter.

(L-R): Tyrone's Martin Penrose (January Merit Award Winner), Martin Higgins
(Quinn-insurance Commerical Manager) who made the presentations,

Christine O'Donnell (O'Neill's International Sports),

Kilcoo's Darragh O'Hanlon
(December Merit Award Winner).

Pic: Oliver McVeigh