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Super sub Clerkin's reward

By John Campbell

In mounting a second-half rescue mission against Cavan, Monaghan midfield ace Dick Clerkin not only helped to take his side into an Ulster Championship semi-final meeting against Fermanagh but also earned himself the Quinn Products Ulster GAA Writers Association monthly award.

The accolade came as a surprise to Clerkin who had started the game on the bench before answering the call to arms from manager Malachy O'Rourke.

"I am certainly not a good spectator and I was very glad to get the summons from the manager," says Clerkin, "I wanted to be part of the game but I never thought that my contribution would win me an honour."

While Monaghan now contemplate their semi-final, Clerkin believes the Armagh v Donegal clash on Sunday will take the championship to a new level.

"This will be a real battle between two teams that will be at the top of their game," he maintains. "I think it will add a whole new dimension to the championship."

"We have had some tremendous games in the competition to date and I think that it is building up to a great climax. It's way ahead of the other provincial championships in terms of intensity and competitiveness."

He beat off the challenge of Tyrone All-Ireland U21 captain Ciaran McGeary and Armagh ladies player Amy Mackin to win his writers' award while Derry hurler Paddy Henry was also in contention.

Clerkin (32) received a Belleek Living Vase, O'Neill's International training gear, silver cuff links from Carlingford Design House and a medical kit from 3fiveTwo Belfast-based Kingsbridge Private Hospitalas well as overnight accommodation for the Writers' Association banquet in the Northern Hotel, Bundoran in November.

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