After a lovely meal, the event highlight was the presentation of the Ivan Marshall Merit Award by MUFA Chairman Sean O’Neill to this year’s deserving winner, Alan (Grass) Gracey from Hanover FC.
‘Grass’ played Irish League football for Portadown, Glentoran, Glenavon, Lisburn Distillery and Ballymena United in a period spanning over 10 years, and quite remarkably has been an active player / member of Hanover now for almost 35 years.
Alan was recognised by his peers for his outstanding contribution to the game which has now spanned over 5 decades, and was delighted to receive the trophy, presented in memory of the late great Ivan Marshall.
A prize raffle was also arranged by MUFA Treasurer Colin McCullough and Secretary Brian Larkin, with a grand total of £350 being raised on the evening. Prize winners included MUFA Honorary Members Roy Marshall and John Brown, Ronnie Haughey from the press, Alan’s daughter Leah Gracey, Bobby Lutton from the Referee Assessors panel, local Referee Glen Buchanan, and June McCullough.
This money will be forwarded to the Chairman’s chosen charity, the Southern Area Hospice, Newry, which as many know is a very worthy cause indeed and who rely heavily on independent voluntary contributions such as this from the public.
The Chairman rounded off the evening by wishing everyone associated with Mid Ulster football a very happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.