There were many eye-catching performances during the January staging of the Barrett Lightning Dr McKenna Cup with players, despite the conditions, giving off their best. Among those who were particularly noticeable was Martin Penrose and for his run of top class displays he earns our Quinn-insurance Monthly Merit Award.

The lively attacker from Aghyaran tortured defences with his jinking runs and score-taking and it was no fault of his that Tyrone didn’t collect the silverware. The 26-year-old sales representative bagged 3-3 in the exciting draw with Donegal; he rifled over three points against Fermanagh and hit another three in the final against Donegal. Still, Martin was surprised when told of winning our award.

“It is a big shock to me. I wouldn’t have thought that I’d have been in the running but that makes it all the more delightful to get the nomination,” he said.

To date, Martin has won two All-Ireland SFC medals, All-Ireland and Ulster minor awards, two Ulster SFC medals and two Ulster U21 championship trophies. Not a bad haul at all. Later this year he will be getting another major award – a wedding ring.

Martin gets his Monthly Merit Award ahead of Donegal’s David Walsh who knocked in the winning goal in the Dr McKenna final against Tyrone while also in the frame were Donegal’s Michael Murphy who notched 2-6 against Tyrone, newcomer Kyle Coney who impressed with the Red Hands last month, and Omagh minors who won the Ulster Club title. Martin received his presentation, at a function on Wednesday, February 10, from Quinn-insurance Commercial Manager Martin Higgins, also well-known as a referee.

The winner 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