Colm McFadden, Michael Murphy and Patrick McFadden were award winners when then the Ulster GAA Writers’ held their annual presentation banquet in the Great Northern Hotel, Bundoran on Friday night.
Almost 400 packed into the Conference Centre on a night of celebration for Donegal, although there was some surprise later in the night when the Silver Jubilee team was announced and there was just one Donegal player on the selected 15 - Karl Lacey.
Austin O’Callaghan of Sligo and the BBC was master of ceremonies and he was kept busy with a large number of presentations to mark the 25th birthday of the Writers’ Association.
Special guest on the night was Ulster GAA President, Aoghan Farrell, who congratulated the Writers’ and the award winners and had one big target for the GAA people of Ulster - to have the Liam MacCarthy Cup on display at the awards night. No pressure then on Antrim, Down and Derry!
As expected Donegal dominated the main football awards with Colm McFadden picking up the Player of the Year award ahead of the other nominees, Karl Lacey and Frank McGlynn.
McFadden told those present that “it is every player’s dream to climb the steps of the Hogan Stand” and he was very happy to have fulfilled that dream.
Asked about the influence of his brother-in-law Jim McGuinness on the team and on Celtic qualifying for the knock-out stages of the Champions League, Colm quipped: “I don’t know if he had anything to do with that, but he is certainly getting the credit.”
Last year, McGuinness picked up the Personality award and this year, it was the turn of Donegal captain Michael Murphy to step forward, and he was giving little away on whether Donegal can repeat the feat of winning the All-Ireland next year.
“We have a massive challenge ahead of us in Tyrone and we will not be looking any further than that,” to which the MC wondered if he would be interested in becoming a politician.
The only straight talking on the night was left to the youngest member of the award winners, Patrick McBrearty, who when asked what could Donegal do to eclipse 2012, said: “Win it again,” but he quickly added that nothing would be easy.
There was great interest surrounding the naming of the Jubilee teams in hurling and football, especially the latter with Donegal having just one player on the selected team - Karl Lacey at right half-back. Eyebrows were raised that neither Martin McHugh or Tony Boyle featured.
The football Jubilee team selected was: Finbar McConnell; Kieran McKeever, Barry Owens, Conor Gormley; Karl Lacey, Henry Downey, Kieran McGeeney; Anthony Tohill, Paul McGrane; Brian Dooher, Greg Blaney, Sean Cavanagh; Mickey Linden, Peter Canavan, Oisin McConville.