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Ronan O’Neill gets major boost as he chases Minor glory

By John Campbell

Ronan O’Neill is in line for three major honours this year — and there could be a fourth on the horizon early in 2011.

The free-scoring Tyrone forward has already pocketed an Ulster Minor Championship medal and hopes to complement this with an All Ireland honour when he lines out against Cork in the final on Sunday week.

Ronan is also aiming to rope in a Tyrone senior championship medal with his club Omagh St Enda’s who are due to face Carrickmore in the semi-final.

And Ronan has just received a timely fillip in advance of the All Ireland Minor final by being named as the winner of the Quinn Insurance Ulster GAA Writers’ Association monthly merit award.

It was his stunning performance in the semi-final victory over Mayo, in which he scored 1-4, that saw 18-year-old Ronan collect the writers’ prize and he is still surprised by his achievement.

“I had no idea that I might have been in the running for this honour,” he said.

“It was a terrific feeling after we beat Mayo, but we are now up against a very good Cork team who have already beaten Armagh who are the reigning All Ireland Minor champions.”

With an ability to score from any angle or distance, O’Neill is also a member of the Omagh CBS MacRory Cup side — and this will be his fourth year to be involved in the competition.

“We have lost out to St Patrick’s Academy Dungannon and St Colman’s College Newry in each of the past two years but we would like to get the MacRory Cup back again,” said Ronan.

Ronan received his award from Ronan McCabe, a manager with Quinn Insurance. It consisted of an inscribed Belleek China vase, specially-designed cufflinks from Omeath jeweller Gareth Mallon, training gear from O’Neill International Sports, a UGAAWA sports voucher and two tickets to the writers’ banquet in November.

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