Duff absent from FAI awards list
THE Eircom/FAI International Soccer Awards are back in business and the nominations for the main awards will cause plenty of debate ahead of the ceremony on February 6.
Damien Duff has been overlooked for the senior award with Robbie Keane, Shay Given and Kevin Kilbane making the short-list selected by the jury which was made up of members of the Soccer Writers Association of Ireland.
Keane scored six times in 10 appearances for Ireland during 2004 during which he passed Niall Quinn's Irish goalscoring record, while Given kept eight clean sheets in 11 games.
Kilbane's improvement has helped Everton to fourth in the Premiership, and his reinvention as a central midfielder in the Irish set-up has been recognised.
Manchester United supply two of the nominees for the Young Player of the Year Award (U-23) in John O'Shea and Liam Miller with Nottingham Forest winger Andy Reid making up the trio.
Sunderland striker Stephen Elliot, who won his first senior cap last November and broke the U-21 goalscoring record during 2004, is in the running for the U-21 Award along with Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Glenn Whelan and Blackburn Rovers defender John Fitzgerald. Celtic's Aiden McGeady hasn't made the list after featuring in just three U-21 games.
League champions Shelbourne provide two of the nominees for the Eircom League Award in skipper Owen Heary and top scorer Jason Byrne while Longford Town's Sean Dillon makes up the short-list.
This will be the 15th awards ceremony and the event makes a welcome return to the sporting calendar after the failure to stage the event last year. No decision has yet been made by the FAI on whether awards will be made retrospectively.
* Nominees list in Factfile