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Darragh O'Hanlon wins the GAA Writers' award

By John Campbell

Kilcoo may ultimately have suffered disappointment in the Ulster senior football club championship when they lost to eventual winners Ballinderry at the semi-final stage, but for one of their outstanding players there is now a welcome pre-Christmas bonus.

Twenty-year-old Darragh O'Hanlon proved the very heartbeat of the side in the two titanic tussles with Crossmaglen Rangers and was again instrumental in ensuring that Ballinderry were taken right to the wire.

His herculean efforts in a Kilcoo side that has since gone on to clinch the Down All County league crown to add to their domestic championship title sees joiner Darragh lift the Ulster GAA Writers' Association monthly merit award for November.

In the dramatic drawn game with Crossmaglen, it was a brace of late points from exceptionally difficult free-kicks by Darragh that forced the replay in which his side triumphed with the industrious right-half-back again landing the last two crucial points.

While defeat subsequently proved hard to take against Ballinderry, Darragh can still reflect on the positives from a great year with his club – and ponder his link-up with the Down squad in the New Year.

"We were gutted following the game against Ballinderry," he admits. "We thought maybe we could push ourselves for one more massive effort but it wasn't to be."

* FORMER Fermanagh manager and Tyrone player Peter Canavan is to take charge of the Cavan Gaels club.

Canavan, who won six All Star awards in a glittering playing career, stepped down as Fermanagh boss in September after two years in charge.

His appointment with Cavan was ratified by club officials last night and he will again be assisted by former Fermanagh player Ciaran Donnelly. Cavan Gaels were beaten in the 2013 county final by outsiders Ballinagh.

Canavan was captain of the Tyrone team which won the All-Ireland title in 2003 and he also played in the Red Hands team which recaptured the Sam Maguire two years later.

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