BY CHRIS MCNULTY
DONEGAL’S only quadruple All-Star Karl Lacey was presented with the Donegal Football of the Year award for 2012 at the annual Donegal GAA banquet on Saturday night in Letterkenny.
Before a full-to-capacity attendance of 660 in the Glenveagh Suite, Lacey was receiving the award for the third time, having also won in 2006 and 2011. Lacey is the current GAA-GPA Footballer of the Year and won a Donegal record fourth All-Star award in October.
Saturday’s award was also a record, as he now becomes the first player to win this award on a third occasion.
Lacey’s year got better by the game in 2012 and he was again the pivotal player in Jim McGuinness’s team. As the stage on which Donegal were performing grew, so too did the performances of the classy Four Masters man.
Lacey made his 100th appearances in the All-Ireland semi-final win over Cork. Donegal’s most decorated footballer of all-time, the match ball in the All-Ireland final was in his clutches when the referee called time and confirmed Donegal as the All-Ireland champions.
Some thirteen awards were presented on the night as a host of individuals and clubs were recognised for their achievements in 2012. The naming of Lacey as the Footballer of the Year put a tin hat on a night that saw the Donegal squad presented with their Ulster Senior Football Championship and All-Ireland Senior Football Championship medals. 32 of the 33-man squad was in attendance with Peter McGee – who is currently in Australia – the only absentee.
Special guest on the night was the President of the Ulster Council, Aogán Ó Fearghail, while a host of other dignitaries were in attendance for the annual bash, the biggest seen in Donegal since Sam last visited 20 years ago.
Footballer of the Year: Karl Lacey (Four Masters and Donegal)
Hurler of the Year: Joe Boyle (Burt and Donegal)
Lady Footballer of the Year: Nicole McLaughlin (Termon and Donegal)
Senior Club of the Year: St Eunan’s
Intermediate Club of the Year: Termon
Junior Club of the Year: Downings
Gaeltacht Club of the Year: Cloughaneely
Non-Gaeltacht Club of the Year: Urris
Cultural Award: Grace McCarron (Malin)
Services to Refereeing: Paddy McGonigle (Buncrana)
Grounds of the Year: Convoy
Overseas Award: Jimmy Houton (Malin and Leeds)
Appreciation Award: Danny Harkin (Convoy)