History is made this year as the Ulster GAA Writers launch their 24th annual Quinn Insurance Awards banquet which will be held at the Great Northern Hotel in Bundoran on Friday, November 18.
For the first time, the association is unveiling the nominees for, all but two, of their eleven annual awards with the missing ones being Personality of the Year and the John McAviney Award for Services to Gaelic Games. These names, along with the winners of all the other sections, which spread across all sections of Gaelic Games, will not be revealed until the moment of presentation at the banquet.
In another change to the awards, there will be separate honours for men and ladies in handball. Until this season there was just a combined award for people involved in handball but, with the increase of females playing the game at a high level it is felt that two awards are necessary. The handball honours need not necessary go to a player as the honour can be won by anyone involved in that sport.
“We feel that it is time to separate the handball award and give separate ones for male and female, particularly since there are more and more females making a big name for themselves, not only in Ireland but on the world stage, as well,” explained UGAAWA chairman JP Graham at the banquet launch in the Great Northern Hotel.
“We also decided to release the names of our nominees this year. In the past, the names were never announced until the time of presentation but people have told us that had they known such a person was nominated they would have liked to be there to give their support.
“Now we are giving everyone a chance to be in attendance at the banquet and support their favourite nominee.”
Brian McEniff, proprietor of the Brian McEniff Hotel Group, welcomed the return of the banquet to Bundoran which he described as “the spiritual home of the Ulster GAA Writers’ banquet.”
Also giving a hearty Cead Mile Fáilte to the news was Councillor Michael McMahon, Bundoran UDC, who promised full support of his council to the banquet.
Representatives from most sections of the GAA family were in attendance at the launch which was hosted by the Great Northern Hotel.
The awards nominees are:
FOOTBALLER (Male) – Jamie Clarke (Armagh), Karl Lacey (Donegal), Colm McFadden (Donegal).
FOOTBALLER (Female) – Sharon Courtney (Monaghan), Aisling Doonan (Cavan), Therese McNally (Monaghan).
HURLER – Ryan Gaffney (Armagh), Neal McAuley (Antrim), Neil McManus (Antrim).
CAMOGIE – Jane Adams (Antrim), Niamh Mallon (Dow), Collette McSorley (Armagh).
HANDBALL (Male) – Paul Brady (Cavan), Sean Clarke (Antrim), Michael Finnegan (Cavan).
HANDBALL (Female) – Lorraine Havern (Down), Sibéal Gallagher (Antrim), Fiona Shannon (Antrim).
REFEREE – Gavin Corrigan (Down), Owen Elliott (Antrim), Joe McQuillan (Cavan).
YOUNG ACHIEVER (Cormac McAnallen Award) – Peter Harte (Tyrone), Patrick McBrearty (Donegal), Caoimhe Mohan (Monaghan).
COMMUNICATIONS – Deirdre Donnelly (Fermanagh), Damian Harvey (Tyrone), Chris McCann (Derry)