Ballyshannon's Simon Gillespie honoured with Damian Meehan Memorial Award in New York

New York GAA: Ballyshannon man follows in footsteps of distinguished winners

Peter Campbell


Peter Campbell


Ballyshannon's Simon Gillespie honoured with Damian Meehan Memorial Award in New York

Simon Gillespie being presented with his award

Ballyshannon native, Simon Gillespie, is the latest recipient of the annual Damian Meehan Memorial Award, which was presented at the Donegal Association of New York GAA dinner recently.

Gillespie has been Games Development Officer with New York GAA for a number of years and the award is testament to the work he has been doing in the coaching of young people in the Big Apple.

The Damian Meehan Memorial Award is named after Damian Meehan, who lost his life in the 9-11 disaster in New York. Son of well-known Donegal town native, Mike and Peg Meehan, Damien was an accomplished Gaelic footballer. He was Player of the Year in New York in 1996 and was a member of the all-American team who played in the curtain raiser before the 50th anniversary NFL game between Cavan and Kerry in the city in 1997.

During his playing days, he would have lined out alongside the likes of Niall McCready and the Molloys of Ardara.

Simon Gillespie was following in big footsteps as Anthony Molloy was the winner of the award last year.

"I am very honoured to have received the award and it was nice meeting the Meehan family at the dinner dance. Damian's young son, born in 2000, is now at college and is said to be a very good athlete.

"With Anthony Molloy being the winner last year, it was nice to be nominated," said Gillespie.

"We have a strong Donegal involvement with Donegal NY GAA with Pete McCormick from Ballybofey the new chairman, while Shane Murrin from Killybegs is treasurer.

"We had a great night at the awards and there was plenty of ribbing for CJ Molloy, who announced his engagement to Tara Melly the same weekend, making the proposal under Brooklyn Bridge.

"We also had Steven McCahill from Ardara winning the Clubman of the Year award."

The full list of winners were:

Damian Meehan Memorial Award: Simon Gillespie

Campbell-Houlihan Award: Joan Henchy from Kerry, NYGAA County Board Secretary

Clubman of the Year: Steven McCahill from Ardara

Donegal Senior Player of the Year: Ollie McClean, from Kilcoo in Co Down

Donegal Junior Player of the Year: Peter Hatzer from Culloville in Co Armagh