McQuillan’s club stalwart Eddie Donnelly was inducted into the Ulster Club Hall of Fame at a glittering awards ceremony in Belfast’s Hilton Hotel.
The Ballycastle man now joins Crossmaglen duo Paul Hearty and Oisin McConville and Burren’s Roy Morgan in the Gaelic Life Ulster Club All Star Hall of Fame.
The news of the award came totally out of the blue for Eddie but was nor surprised to friends, family, club memnbers and former team mates who know of his long list of accolades and achievements in hurling.
“I received a phone call about three or four weeks before the event to say I was being inducted in to the Hall of Fame,” said Eddeie. “I think they just wanted to make sure I would turn up! I have no idea how it came about or who decided that I should receive this award but it is a massive for not only myself and my family but also McQuillans GAC. It’s a big honour for the club which for me and many others is the bedrock of everything.”
Although very modest about his achievments, Eddie Donnelly has had a very auspicious career. He won eight Senior Championship medals which remains a club record and still ranks very highly within the county. He also has eight league medals.
The County Antrim man played in 1970 Abtrim team who won the All Ireland Intermediate title, he won All Ireland B Championship medals in 1978, 1981 and 1982.
Eddie was selected in 1975 and 1977 to tour America with the All Stars, in 1976 and 1977 he represented Ireland in Senior hurling/shinty internationals and then to show the esteem his talents were held in he was named in the Antrim Team of the Century in 1984.
“It was fantastic to be involved in such a brilliant night which celebrated the achievments of so many in the sport,” continued Eddie. It was very special for me to be able to share it with my family.
“There were so many distinguished figures from the Ulster GAA scene there and as well as my award there were presentations such as Hurling and Football Managers of the Year, Young Footballer and Young Hurler of the Year, Camogie Player of the Year, Ladies Football Player of the Year, Club of the Year as well as the two most important awards of Footballer of the Year and Hurler of the Year.
“I can safely say I was surprised to receive this but I’m very honoured to have it on behalf of McQuillans.”