Donegal’s current squad of players is one of the most exceptional group of players ever to the wear the county jersey.
That is the considered view of former Donegal and Mayo star and current RTE Sunday Game analyst and pundit Martin Carney. Addressing the players in the 200 plus attendance at Friday night’s Donegal GAA annual awards banquet in the Abbey Hotel, Donegal Town, the former star and respected pundit congratulated footballers on their achievements in 2011.
He also congratulated the hurlers on their Lory Meagher Cup success and finally capturing a national title on the greatest stage of all Croke Park.
Last year, he also insisted, is that will go down in the history of the annals of Donegal GAA history as one of the most successful years ever enjoyed by the county.
On the footballers winning of the Division Two League and their great championship run that saw an Ulster championship also won, he said: “Your march from your first game in the championship and win over Antrim to your final game against Dublin was characterised by displays of honesty, grit and no shortage of style and football ability.
“Your tactical strategies explored, excited and concentrated on persevering on extreme defensive set up that here to fore had not been a feature of Gaelic Games.
“The howls of protest that greeted many of your displays conveniently ignored the basic fact that your tactics were perfectly legitimate within the rules of the game and that you were simply exploring an approach that maximised your prospects of victory.”
He went on to congratulate the player on restoring the county’s football status and he told that last summers triumphant has done a lot for the promotion of the game among the young people of the county. And he wished both the footballer’s hurler continued success in 2012.
The other special guests at the function were president of the Ulster Council Aoghan Farrell and president elect of the association Liam O’Neill. Medals were presented to the Ulster winning senior football team of 2011, the 2011 Allianz National Football League winners, U-21 Ulster winning team of 2010, the Lory Meagher Cup 2011 winners and Ulster U-21 hurling winning shield medals.
The individual award winners on the night were as follows:
Club of the Year: Glenswilly
Intermediate Club of the Year: St. Nauls
Junior Club of the Year: Burt
Galetacht Club of the Year: Gaoth Dobhair
Non Gaeltacht Club of the Year: St. Eunan’s
Service to Culture: Shay Farrell
Footballer of the Year: Karl Lacey
Hurler of the Year: Niall Campbell
Lady Footballer of the Year: Geraldine McLaughlin
Appreciation Award: John Joe O’Shea
Overseas award; Laurence McGrath.