Antrim footballer Ryan Murray receives Queen’s University’s 2016 Cormac McAnallen Medal
Twelve years after his untimely passing, Cormac McAnallen’s memory and legacy was marked with the fifth presentation of a special annual medal in his honour at Queen’s University last week. The university’s GAA club and Past Members’ Union initiated the annual award in 2012 which was presented for the fifth time at a special reception that also included the acknowledgement of this year’s GAA Academy Scholars.
Tyrone legend Peter Canavan was guest of honour for the event, while Cormac’s brother Dónal McAnallen presented the award.
The 2016 recipient of the specially commissioned Cormac McAnallen Medal is Ryan Murray. The Antrim star, who featured in this year’s league and championship for his county, has been prominent for Queen’s in the Sigerson Cup and McKenna Cup campaigns over the past few years. He won an All-Ireland Freshers Championship with his first-year team in 2012. Ryan has also served on the club committee.
Ryan is a former student of Rathmore College in Belfast. He is a member of the Lámh Dhearg Club, and is a former county and Ulster Minor club medallist.
This prestigious honour is presented for outstanding commitment to, and performance for, the Queen’s club and the senior teams. Previous recipients include Mark Sweeney (2012), Conor Caldwell (2013), Fionnuala McKenna (2014) and Michael Monan (2015).
Cormac McAnallen was an exceptional sportsman and his untimely passing in 2004 cut short a remarkable young career. He played at Queen’s for four years, winning a Sigerson Cup medal in 2000 and a Ryan Cup in 1999. He also added an Ulster and All-Ireland double with Tyrone in 2003 as well as an Allstar.
Cormac graduated from the university with a BA in 2001.
In his address at the reception last week, Peter Canavan highlighted the personal qualities that his team mates associated with Cormac McAnallen – commitment, excellence and leadership.
The Past Members’ Union was formed under the chairmanship of the late Paddy O’Hara in 1990. The PMU was established to foster continued friendship among alumni of the club, while supporting initatives and ongoing development of the present Gaelic Football club.
John Devaney, QUB GAA PMU Chairman, said that “Ryan’s development as a player and a student over the past few years personifies what we want to see within the GAA Academy; a focus on personal, sporting and academic advancement. He has also demonstrated leadership attributes and a strong commitment to the Queen’s club and his team, the very qualities that we now associate with this particular honour and they are the same qualities that we associated with Cormac McAnallen. This medal is a very special award for the recipient and it has become something that we continue to hope that players at Queen’s aspire to”.