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Writers' Association is poised to script its final chapter as they prepare for Bundoran send-off


John Martin

John Martin

John Martin

When Adrian Logan and Kevin Hughes conceived the idea of forming an Ulster GAA Writers' Association, they little thought they were spawning an organisation that would have a 33-year lifespan.

But all good things come to an end, and tonight, at the Great Northern Hotel, Bundoran, the curtain will come down on a body that has worked ceaselessly in its own way to promote excellence within the GAA and in the process improve the lot of working journalists from all sectors of the media.

From small acorns mighty oaks grow and, although the Writers' Association was certainly never the biggest tree in the vast GAA garden, nevertheless it flourished in its own way.

In time, the Association's monthly merit awards began to carry considerable status, while its annual awards ceremony was for many years one of the most prestigious events on the annual GAA calendar.

A host of GAA legends were honoured over the course of just over three decades, with Peter Canavan the most decorated individual player of all.

It was in the late '80s, when Burren won the All-Ireland club title twice, and in the early '90s when Down (twice), Derry and Donegal all took delivery of the Sam Maguire Cup that the writers' body availed of the golden opportunity to help portray the province in a glowing light.

And this was very much the case again when Armagh (2002), Tyrone (2003, 2005 and 2008) and Donegal (2012) also captured the biggest prize of all.

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Current chairman John Martin believes that, while tonight's function will be tinged with regret, the contribution that the writers' body has made to the promotion of GAA in this part of the world will be enshrined in the annals of the sport.

"We have been privileged to honour some of the greatest-ever teams and players to represent the province," says chairman Martin.

"We owe a lot to the late Brian Houston (Bass Ireland), Sean Quinn, Belleek Pottery, O'Neill's International Sports, Quinn Building Products and Gareth Mallon, who have been very supportive of us through the years.

"I would also like to pay tribute to all past and present officers and members of the Association for the great work they have done."

Martin confirms that the Association derived its greatest satisfaction from embracing all codes under the GAA banner.

"We are delighted to have honoured participants from football, hurling, camogie, ladies football, handball and Scor," points out the chairman.

The 2020 annual awards will be presented tonight and the winners will surely have special reason for treasuring their trophies.

Most attention will focus on just who will win the coveted Footballer of the Year and Hurler of the Year awards, while there is always considerable speculation surrounding the Club of the Year and the Team of the Year accolades. And, in addition, the Personality of the Year and the Services to the GAA categories create huge interest.

Chairman Martin reveals that there has seldom been stronger competition for the awards, which reflects the rude health which the GAA currently enjoys in the province.

"While there are issues in relation to fixtures planning and under-age competitions, we see the Association as being in a strong place," says Martin.

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