It’s not often that the Ulster minor football championship upstages its senior counterpart but with the Anglo-Celt Cup yet to take off so far this summer, the under-18 competition has produced more thrills and spills.
None more so than the extra-time victory for Antrim over reigning champions Donegal at Ballybofey, a performance which caught the eye of the GAA journalists and has earned Antrim minor manager Hugh McGettigan the Quinn Building Products Ulster GAA Writers’ monthly award for May.
“I’m delighted with the news,” beamed Hugh when told of the honour. “I’m personally delighted but also delighted for the management committee that we have and highly delighted, as well, for the players. Everyone connected with the team deserves a big slice of credit for the win over Donegal.
“We went in as underdogs against Donegal, last year’s Ulster winners, but the lads buckled down to the task and turned in a fabulous display. It was a magical moment when Tiernan McAteer sent over the winning point in extra time.
“This Merit Award for May gives us a great boost before facing Derry, who will be hot favourites, in the semi-final. The Derry boys are favourites for the Ulster title so we will be underdogs again but that won’t worry us.
“These monthly awards from the Ulster GAA Writers are really special and it gives us all a big lift before the semi-final.”
McGettigan and Brian Gribben have been working with many of these players for the past few years, honing their talents and planning the pattern of play. Their influence has, obviously, rubbed off. The semi-final will be played on 18th June.
To get the award, McGettigan had to fight off strong claims from Armagh footballer Caroline O’Hanlon who starred with Ulster in the team’s interpro win, and Ulster camogs were also in the mix, having also enjoyed interprovincial success.
The presentation to the winner was made at St Mary’s CBGS in Belfast by Quinn Building Products Sales & Marketing Director Seamus McMahon. McGettigan receives an engraved Belleek Living Vase, hand crafted Silver Cuff Links from Carlingford Design House and training gear from O’Neill International Sportswear plus two tickets to the next UGAAWA annual presentation function.