BY CHRIS MCNULTY
HOT on the heels of booking their place in the All-Ireland final, SIX Donegal players were last night recipients of Ulster All-Star awards while Ryan McHugh was named as the Player of the Year.
Captain Michael Murphy was joined by Neil McGee, Karl Lacey, Leo McLoone, Odhrán MacNiallais and McHugh in receiving the awards at the Irish News Ulster All-Star awards bash held in the Armagh City Hotel.
McHugh, who was the Man of the Match in Donegal’s Ulster final win over Monaghan at Clones, was named as the Player of the Year after a superb summer in the green and gold.
In 2011, Donegal received a whopping eleven places on the Ulster All-Star team.
After their wins over Derry, Antrim and Monaghan this year, Donegal’s was a more low-key look, but that was blown apart by last Sunday’s defeat of Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final.
The awards are selected by public vote and are not solely confined to the Ulster Championship as voting has been open across recent weeks.
McHugh was again the Man of the Match last Sunday as he hit 2-2 in Donegal’s 3-14 to 0-17 win over reigning All-Ireland champions Dublin.
It has been a big week for the Kilcar man, who was named as gaa.ie player of the week and who was also confirmed on a three-man shortlist for the GAA/GPA August Player of the Month award. McHugh is nominated alongside Kerry pair David Moran and James O’Donoghue.
The winner will be chosen by the inter-county playing body, and will be announced at a presentation in Croke Park next Thursday, 11th September.
Arising out of last Sunday’s energy-sapping win over Dublin, the Donegal management is reporting no serious injury concerns. With just two weeks to go until the All-Ireland final doubler-header, also involving the Donegal and Kerry minors, time is short, but Jim McGuinness is again expected to take his squad to Johnstown House for a training camp next week.
The Enfield base has worked wonders in the past and it is not expected that Donegal will break that tradition.
Donegal minor manager Declan Bonner is also reporting no ill effects from their 1-12 to 1-11 win over Dublin on Sunday. Eoghan Ban Gallagher missed Sunday’s semi-final, but Bonner hopes to be in a position to welcome the Killybegs man back in time for the final.
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