When someone wins two All Ireland senior medals 26 years apart it’s time to sit up and take notice.
The Ulster GAA Writers did just that earlier in the week when they named Emyvale lady Mary Kirke as the first recipient of the Quinn Insurance UGAAWA monthly merit award.
It’s an historic award in that it’s the first time an individual from the GAA Scor section has been honoured and it’s also the first award since Quinn Insurance came on board.
Mary Kirke was a member of the Emyvale Ceili Dancing team that won the All Ireland senior Scor title in Killarney last month, the only Scor title to come to Ulster this year.
She was also a member of the Emyvale Ballad group that won the All Ireland senior title 26 years ago.
“I’m absolutely stunned with the news,” said Mary on receiving the award.
“Winning something like this never crossed my mind for one minute, but I was only a small part of the winning team.
“It’s the first time that the dancing team won out of Ulster. We tried for many years and failed and then took a break for a number of years.
“It was always my ambition to get into the All Ireland dancing final to experience the occasion even if we didn’t win it.
“The reception we got on arriving back in Emyvale made us feel like true All Ireland champions. Now this award just rounds everything off,” she said.
Mary Kirke has been a member of the Emyvale GAA club all her life. Her All Ireland win in 1983 was in the National Stadium, Dublin.
She was presented with her Quinn Insurance UGAAAWA award at a reception in the Slieve Russell Hotel. The award included a sports voucher, an engraved Belleek China case and specially designed jewellery from Omeath’s Garrett Mallon and sports gear from O’Neills International Sports.