Armagh's Steven McDonnell today received the GAA Vodafone Footballer of the Month award for April, following some outstanding displays during the Orchard County's run to Division 2 league success less than a fortnight ago.
Three-time All-Star winner McDonnell, who was a pivotal member of Armagh’s historic All-Ireland title winning side of 2002 and who now has six Ulster titles to his name, captained his county and lead from the front as Armagh claimed the Division 2 league title with a two-point victory over neighbours and old rivals Down on Sunday week last.
McDonnell scored five points from play (six in all) in a game that sets him and his resurgent Armagh side up nicely for a tilt at Derry in the first round of the championship on May 16.
The Killeavy clubman says he is in the best form he has ever been, thanks to new manager Paddy O'Rourke, fitness coach Mike McGurn and the rest of the backroom team.
"Paddy and Mike and the backroom team have given me a new lease of life," he said.
"Over the last couple of years my fitness wasn't where it should have been and the hunger wasn't there. I now realise that I haven't too many years left at inter-county football and I want to make the most of it.
"One of the aims was that if I was going to come back I was going to do everything I could to get my fitness back.
"As a footballer, if you are fit you are going to be more confident, and certainly my fitness has improved because Mike is there.
"He has worked on a special programme with me to get me in the physical condition I am in today."