The annual Ulster GAA Writers’ banquet is set for the Great Northern Hotel, Bundoran, again this year on Friday, December 7, and it promises to be a special event for the county.
Last year Donegal scooped most of the top awards as holders of the Anglo Celt Cup, but this year the Anglo Celt will not be alone at the top table with the Sam Maguire Cup keeping it company.
They prestigious awards ceremony - the only one of its kind in the country - was launched on Tuesday last at the Great Northern Hotel by former Donegal senior manager Brian McEniff, who was still singing the praises of Jim McGuinness and Donegal, while also reminiscing about past awards night held by the GAA Writers’
“It was ironic when Sam returned to the front of the Holyrood on Tuesday last, I could not be there,” said McEniff, who was having treatment for a back problem. He spoke of Jim’s progress as a player and described him as an amazing player and said he was happy to have played a small part in his elevation.
“Before leaving the Executive I was pleased to chair a three-man committee who selected him as U-21 manager. He continues to be a fine young man with a fine set of boys,” McEniff said.
In launching the Writers’ banquet, McEniff said he was pleased that they had again selected the Great Northern Hotel.
“I did make the first event in 1988 because the day coincided with the birth of my first granddaughter and that same day we bought the Southern Hotel in Sligo,” he said.
This year will be a special night for the awards to mark the 25th anniversary. At the presentation chairman John Graham, Monaghan, explained that the awards night had been planned for November 16 but the All-Star trip had been announced recently which would have clashed with that date, so they had re-arranged to make sure that they gave everyone the opportunity to attend.
The chairman thanked Aodh Mairtin O’Fearraigh for attending with the Sam Maguire Cup and Belleek Pottery for continuing their sponsorship.
“The 25 years of the Writers’ Association has coincided with great success on the football fields with every county barring Antrim and Fermanagh winning the Ulster championship, Graham said. “A number of counties including Donegal, Derry, Armagh and Tyrone took their first All-Irelands in that time and Down added to their tally. It was a very fruitful period and to recognise that, part of the celebration here on December 7 will be that there will be two silver jubilee teams chosen in football and hurling. They will be chosen from all our award winners, monthly winners and annual winners.”
The hurling team will be announced in the week leading up to the banquet with the football team announced on the night. The chairman said that there would also be special silver jubilee awards to people representing ladies football, camogie and handball.
The silver jubilee awards will be in addition to the annual awards made by the GAA Writers’ which will mean that there should be a bumper night in the Great Northern Hotel.
Other speakers at the launch, which had Paddy Hunter as MC, were O’Fearraigh, Philip McGlynn, chairman of Bundoran Council and Patricia McCauley gtom Belleek Pottery. Among the other guests was Mick Murphy representing his son, Michael, captain of the Donegal All-Ireland winning team.
Tickets for the event will be available from the Great Northern Hotel and further information on availability will be published in the coming weeks.