Awards and glitz at the Aodh Ruadh Dinner Dance

There was a fine crowd in attendance for the Aodh Ruadh Annual Dinner Dance staged in Dorrian's Imperial Hotel last Saturday night, with Sean Perry, once again taking the tiller for evening. Proceedings got underway with the presentation of medals to the under 21B championship winners. They were followed by the senior hurling league champions receiving their medals for their exploits in 2013. Paul Sheridan then received an award for his part in Donegal's Nicky Rackard winning campaign. The young player of the year was Eamonn McGrath. The young hurler of the year went to Eddie Lynch Jr, just confirmed as county minor captain for the coming season. The ladies player of the year was the peerless sharpshooter Elaine Dorrian. The hurler of the year was Conor McNeely, who distinguished himself as Aodh Ruadh made a successful return to the senior ranks after a hiatus. The under 21 player of the year award had a number of worthy candidates, with full back Gary Carty scooping the honours. Dependable corner back David McLoone was named reserve team player of the year. The Ciaran Keon Senior Player of the year award went to Kerry Ryan. Finally, much unseen work was rewarded as Tracey Flood was the recipient of the Sean Slevin Club Person of the Year award.

Below we have Sean Perry's full script from the night.

Special guest Ray Durack, distinguished guests, friends of the Aodh Ruadh club, ladies and gentlemen, it's great to be here at this special occasion, our annual dinner dance when we gather to reflect, socialise and take stock for the year ahead. We also honour those teams and individuals who have achieved excellence on the field of play and those selfless volunteers who give so much time and service to make our club a club to be proud of, a club which we get so much pleasure out of, a club which has made a huge contribution to Ballyshannon and Donegal for more than 100 years.

We have a number of presentations to make tonight and where better to begin than with our u-21 side which claimed a county title back in October. This well tutored bunch of players scored wins over Carndonagh, Buncrana, Red Hugh's and eventually overcame Burt after a replay.

I'd like to invite team manager Shane Ward to come forward to present the county medals to the u-21 panel and we begin with goalkeeper, long-range freetaker and captain, the exceptional Peter Boyle. Daniel Kelly, Mathew Maguire, Gary Carty, Colm Kelly, Kieran Keown, Conor Patton, Niall Harley, Ronan Mc Gurrin, Eamonn Mc Grath, Ronan Drummond, Jonny Gethins, Ryan Granaghan, Niall Thomas, David Mc Gurrin, Mickey McNeely, Jamie Mc Donald, Eddie Lynch, Paddy Gillespie, James Barron, PJ Gillespie, Ruairi Drummond, Niall Murray and Pauric Patton

Presentation to the 2013 senior hurling league winners.

With Ray Durack as our special guest here tonight, it's an appropriate time to honour one of our own who was part of that magical journey for Donegal hurlers in 2013. Defeating Roscommon in the Nicky Rackard final in Croke Park last June ranks as Donegal's finest hour on the hurling field and of course, it means we step up to Christy Ring grade this season. Green shoots are evident again this season as we edged our neighbours Fermanagh in our first league outing here in Fr Tierney Park last Sunday and tomorrow, we wish Ray and his players well as they head for Longford looking to continue on their winning run. A pivotal member of his panel who is now something of a veteran on the Donegal hurling circuit is Paul Sheridan.

Next to our young player of the year and yet another very worthy recipient. Coming from a family steeped in GAA, this player has announced himself as one of the most exciting talents in the county.

He has been voted captain by his team mates at underage for the last 3 years. He was county minor vice captain last year and has been included in the county U-21 panel this year at the first time of asking.

A man known for his quiet disposition but we're hearing that Sligo IT and college life is bringing him out of his shell.

On the field of play, there is no question, his team mates look to him for leadership and he provides it every time. Playing anywhere from full back to midfield he encourages his team forward chipping in with a score or two himself, his most famous a 20 yard handpass over the bar in a packed defence to save his minor teammates. This man has a huge career ahead of him and we look forward to his journey with Aodh Ruadh and Donegal.

This years young player of the year is Eamonn McGrath.

This year's young hurler of the year was a closely contested accolade, the winner's dedication to and attitude at training along with his undoubted skill and displays for club and county were major factors in selecting our winner.

He captained Aodh Ruadh minors to a league and championship double last year, repeating doubles for this squad at under 14 and under 16 grades.

He began hurling for Aodh Ruadh at under 10 level in 2006 and has given great service since. A very accurate free taker and a tireless worker, he has developed into a fine hurler who should make his senior hurling debut for the club this year.

He won an Ulster Minor Shield medal this year with Donegal as they defeated Monaghan in the final. Donegal then defeated an Ollie Canning managed Roscommon in the All Ireland Quarter final with our young hurler of the year top scoring with 6 points.

Also an accomplished footballer who made his senior debut this year and was on the victorious under 21 panel, he is one of a number of very talented dual players the club has produced in the last few years . He has a bright future ahead of him and only last week he was selected captain of the Donegal Minor Hurling team for 2014. Ladies and gentlmen let us hear your appreciation for Eddie Lynch jr

The ladies showed plenty of determination and commitment in 2013 and that effort was rewarded with a county final appearance where they were unlucky to be outmanoeuvred by Milford. To the fore throughout the season was one eagle-eyed attacker who proved herself to be a thorn in the side of many defences. It's the inimitable Elaine Dorrian.

Our hurler of the year was marked for big things ever since he captain Aodh Ruadh to a minor championship title. Since making the step up to the senior grade he has brought with him the passion, fearlessness and commitment which made such a star at underage. Through Aodh Ruadh's triumphant march to the league title he shone in the attack, generally at half forward, but occasionally leading the line when required. He's a real one to watch for, I give you your hurler of the year Conor McNeely.

Our u-21 player of the year has really excelled over the last three seasons. His commitment and hard work ethic is unquestionable. He has added 3 championship medals to his collection in the last 4 years. From an early age, he has been a regular fixture in full back lines.

An excellent defender, he makes no apologies for contesting every play and giving opponents very little change. This season one of his targets from early in the season was an U21 championship, a goal which he continually encouraged his team mates to aim for.

In that memorable drawn county final against Burt, he drove from the back in the dying moments when Aodh Ruadh needed a point, desperate to get into scoring zone, winning a free which his captain calmly slotted to level the game. The same scenario occurred in the replay when he drove forward once again setting up Ronan McGurrin to slot the winner.

Ladies and gentleman, your U21 player of the year is Gary Carty.

Our reserve player of the year has had another excellent season on the field. He has been a most consistent performer in the past number of seasons. He has added with two championship medals to his trophy cabinet in recent seasons.

His dedication to Aodh Ruadh and his fellow team mates cannot be questioned, often driving from Cork, getting out of his car and straight into the warm up. Such are his high standards that he's often been known to apologise to his coaches and colleagues for arriving five minutes late having driven from the other end of the country.

Playing at corner back or in his new position of full back, he is a tenacious defender which gives each up and coming young hopeful in the forwards a tough time.

Our reserve player of the year is David Mc Loone.

This year sees a new award given to one young player who has made the transition from minor to senior football exceptionally well.

This player was our young player of the year last Year for his excellence on the field of play. This year, he is recognised again for his contribution to his senior team in his first season and his remarkable forward play in the U21 Championship. His average of 9 points a game is no mean feat. He continually brings the game to the opposition proving unmarkable in many contests. He has found his role in the senior squad as a marquee forward learning quickly and adjusting to the increased tempo and pace of the game.

Ladies and gentlemen, let's hear it for David Mc Gurrin.

Our senior footballer of the year this year is a truly remarkable character. His comrades say this award is long overdue but like a good red wine he seems to be getting better with age.

He is the life and soul of Aodh Ruadh football. A dual player for many years he has given a huge commitment to everything in Aodh Ruadh.

Unlike some players who like to avoid training, our recipient of the senior player of the year award has often been known to begin a Summer evening by training with the hurlers and then join the footballers to complete a second session.

He is a unique character in that he is a leader in every sense of the word. He is first to arrive and last to leave, whether it be kicking points or encouraging some of our younger players. He has been the joker of many a different pack, always entertaining the lads, by playing practical jokes, singing in the shower or wearing some stand-out outfit to lighten the atmosphere.

He broke into the senior squad in 1997 earning himself a senior county championship and League in his first year and another county title followed in 1998.

He has played in nearly every position on the field, a utility player, every manager's dream. He can field ball, defend, attack and always chips in with a score or two. We welcome him here tonight and his good wife Lorraine. Our senior player of the year has not seen "red" quite so often since settling down with Lorraine. He has signed up for his 20th championship campaign and we hope to see him lead again from the front. The last time he was on the stage in Dorrians, he was in altogether different attire as a contestant in the Rose of Ballyshannon. He actually gave birth that night, happily for Lorraine and her wardrobe, his cross-dressing days appear to be behind him.

Our senior footballer of the year is Kerry Ryan.

Our final award of the evening now and it's the Sean Slevin club person of the year. Again, we recognise and honour somebody who has given a huge amount to our club in recent years. She's going into her third year as secretary of Bord na nOg and is always at the coalface when there's something to be done. Whether it's fundraising, administration, organising or even catering, she's a regular fixture around our club.

Her sister, Claire was honoured with this award only a few years ago so there's quite a formidable streak in this family. She's developed an event at the Mall Track prompting people to participate in a fundraising walk for the Children's Hospital in Crumlin which has proved to be a resounding success, she's involved in basketball and in her four sons, Tiernan, Darragh, Diarmuid and Caolan, there are good young prospects to wear our club senior colours in years ahead.

Ladies and gentlemen, our Sean Slevin clubperson of the year is Tracey Flood.

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Last modified: Monday, 24 February 2014 at 11:28pm