Always in February teams want to get a head start on their neighbours and fast off the blocks this year was Down who took the NFL points off Meath and Kildare, helped tremendously by the form of their captain Ambrose Rogers.

During the 0-12 to 0-8 home win over the Royal County and the 1-16 to 0-8 away success against the Lily Whites, Ambrose’s midfield masterly and his leadership of the team had much to do with the two victories.

For those displays, the Longstone Club member earns our Monthly Merit Award for February ahead of St Gall’s players Sean Kelly and CJ McGourty, both of whom starred in the Milltown men’s All-Ireland semi-final defeat of Corofin.

“This is great news,” enthused Ambrose when told of the honour. “It is super to win this prestigious award and it gives me a big boost – just like being named captain did.”

The 25-year-old winner has fought his way back to peak fitness after a series of injuries, some of which threatened his career. He is now a GAA coach with the Down County Board and enjoying his new role.

The scoring performances of Armagh’s Stevie McDonnell (1-15) and Antrim’s Paddy Cunningham (1-13) plus Donegal ‘keeper Michael Boyle, winner of Sigerson and O’Byrne Cup medals in the same week, also get special commendation but Rogers’ displays overshadowed all.

At a reception in Quinn’s Corner on Wednesday, March 10, Ambrose received his award of a £150 Sports Voucher, an engraved Belleek China Vase compliments of the Co Fermanagh pottery, specially designed silver cuff links from Omeath jeweller Garret Mallon and sports gear from O’Neill’s International Sports. The presentation was made by Colm Courtney, Private Lines & Documentation Manager Quinn-Insurance.

Ambrose will also receive two tickets and overnight accommodation to the UGAAWA banquet at Slieve Russell Hotel on Friday, November 19.


Down midfielder and captain Ambrose Rogers (left) receives his Ulster GAA Writers' Merit Award for February from Colm Courtney of sponsors Quinn-insurance. Also in the picture are Down chairman Seamus Walsh and UGAAWA secretary Matt Fitzpatrick.

Photo: © Michael Cullen