Quinn Products UGAAWA MERIT AWARD For April 2016

It seems the months get busier with more and more GAA action packed into the weeks. Every sector of the association is alive at this time of year with an awful lot to pick our Quinn Building Products Monthly Merit winner from. The fields were alive but heading the list, from an Ulster point of view, was, of course, the NFL Division Two final with two Ulster teams in combat. Tyrone were the winners and Cavan were the losers but the Breffni boys added a lot to an exciting game. Normally, the Man(or woman)-of-the-Match comes from the winning side and, too often, performances from losing players are ignored. Not by us, this time, as our winner, after the usual debate, emerged as Cavan defender PADRÁIG FAULKNER.

It would be wrong to pigeon-hole the Kingscourt Stars player as a wing half-back, where he was named in the team. He was deployed in other positions, as well. Throughout the game he shadowed at least three different Tyrone players as the Breffni Blues tried to curb the wily Red Hand firing squad. He gets the award ahead of Tiernan McCann for his overall contribution to Cavan's cause.

“It is a fantastic achievement to win this award – my first individual honour,” exclaimed Padráig (21). “We had our work cut out to try and stop those Tyrone boys and it was very disappointing that we didn't manage to win the game but our aim, at the start of the league, was to win promotion and we did that.

“It looked bad for us when, after losing our first two games, we were eight points down to Meath at half-time in Navan but we managed to turn things around in the second half and that was why we eventually went on to gain promotion. That was the turning point of our league season.”

It seems that we are heading to have a lot of learned footballers in future as our March winner Ronan O'Neill attended an interview for a teaching course at UUC on his way to collecting his award. Padráig will shortly enter either St Patrick's College, Drumcondra, or Glasgow University to do a similar teaching course.

Faulkner, like his dad Pat used to, wears the No 3 jersey with his club but he prefers a wider area to operate in. “I don't particularly like full-back and I'm glad that the Cavan manager (Terry Hyland) allows me to push further upfield,” said Padráig. He did push upfield against Tyrone and, in doing so, caught the eye.

Last week, he spent four days in Portugal with the Cavan squad and enjoyed the experience as they began preparations for the Ulster Championship, against Armagh. “That won't be an easy game, of course,” he reflected.

Also in the mix for the April award were Fermanagh captain Eoin Donnelly, who starred against Tyrone in the league's final round, and Donegal hotshot striker Geraldine McLaughlin, who helped her team into the Lidl Ladies' NL Division 2 final.

However, Faulkner, who has one Ulster U21 medal, one Ulster MFC award and one Cavan Club Senior Champions medal in his collection, emerged the winner. He is the first Cavan winner since Martin Dunne who was honoured with the May 2013 award.

As his latest award, Padráig received an engraved Belleek Living vase, specially designed silver cuff links from Carlingford Design House, training gear from O'Neill's International Sports and a medical kit bag from Kingsbridge Private Hospital via 3FiveTwo organised by McNeill Communications. The presentation was made, at Quinn's Corner, Dungannon, by Quinn Building Products area manager for Fermanagh/North Leitrim Damien Lee.