Brian Coyle’s remarkable contribution to under-age football in the province has been recognised now that he is the latest winner of the Quinn Insurance Ulster GAA Writers Association monthly merit award.
Thirty years ago the St Paul’s dynamo helped to launch the Ulster Minor football tournament which has since become one of the highlights of the provincial fixtures calendar and now he has set a similar competition in motion for girls football.
Brian was manager of the St Paul’s club which won the inaugural tournament in 1982 and now he has achieved another notable distinction having taken charge of the club’s girls team which triumphed last week.
“While I was delighted to see the girls win this first tournament, I was even more thrilled, I have to admit, to win the writers’ award,” said Brian.
“This is a tremendous boost for me and means a great deal both to myself and to the St Paul’s club.
“The boys’ event has been a tremendous success and the new tournament, which has been sanctioned as a championship, has already given the girls a fantastic boost.
“It adds considerably to the county championships, just like the boys’ Ulster event has done. Already there has been talk of establishing a girls’ U18 event in other provinces.”
Brian and his daughter Donna are members of the Antrim senior team selection committee as well as managing their club U18s while he also coaches in a number of schools.
A few years ago he guided the Antrim U18 boys team to the Ulster final in which they lost to eventual All-Ireland winners Tyrone.
Brian received his trophy, an engraved Belleek Living vase, from Quinn Insurance sales manager Grainne Kiernan at a presentation in Quinn’s Corner Restaurant, Ballygawley.
He also received specially designed silver cuff links by Omeath jeweller Garrett Mallon, training gear from O’Neill’s Sports and an UGAAWA Sports Voucher.
He will also receive two tickets and overnight accommodation for the UGAAWA Silver Jubilee banquet later this year.
In winning his award, Brian edged out Cavan chairman George Cartwright who has published the definitive record of Cavan football.