To win one provincial medal in a month is the dream of any footballer or hurler but to win two no-one dares to hope. However, a host of Slaughtneil players did that last month and posed us a major problem. Which of them did that little bit special to stand out from the crowd?
Naturally, in the circumstances, there were many and varied suggestions and there were other players who won other provincial awards, as well, to be considered. They all deserved, and got, serious consideration. However, at the end of the arguments, and after voting finished, it was Slaughtneil dual performer Brendan Rogers who got the nod and receives the Ulster GAA Writers’ Monthly Merit Award for November 2016.
“That’s a delightful surprise,” beamed Brendan (22) when told the good news. “It was a good month for us all. Winning the Derry championship for the first time was just great but to go on and win out of Ulster was brilliant. Then to make it a double provincial success was more than a dream.”
Rogers played at both ends of the field – sometimes all over it – as he was full-forward in the hurling final against Loughgiel and full-back in the football decider against Kilcoo. He scored in both games, too, a goal in the hurling final and two points in the football game, as he foraged up the field on his many trips into the Kilcoo defence.
Is it a problem mixing the two sports? “Not at all,” he stresses. “They compliment each other and preparing for one takes the mind off the other. In that respect, it was easy to combine both sports and, surely, the outcome was well worth the effort.”
On top of his sporting activity he found time for study and, before heading off to London last Saturday for the All-Ireland Club Football quarter-final, the fruits of his studies blossomed when he graduated from Queen’s University.
To earn our Monthly Merit Award he beat off major challenges from Donaghmoyne footballer Catriona McConnell, Rock player Aidan McGarry and Slaughtneil colleague Shane McGuigan.
The winner receives an engraved Belleek China vase, specially designed silver cuff links from Carlingford Design House, training gear from O’Neill’s International Sports, a medical kit bag from 3FiveTwo, on behalf of Kingsbridge Private Hospital and two tickets to our annual presentation function next month.
Representing Quinn’s Building Products at the presentation in Quinn’s Corner, Co Tyrone was Quinn Product Sales & Marketing Director Seamus McMahon.