Thursday 29 September 2016

'We were written off in the qualifiers and I’m sure it will be the same at the Euros' - Jon Walters scoops international Player of the Year award

John Fallon

Published 20/03/2016 | 20:52

Jonathan Walters, winner of the 3 FAI Senior International Player of the year with Republic of Ireland's Robbie Brady, left, winner of the 3 FAI International Young player of the year Award and Brighton and Hove Albion's Richie Towell, winner of the SSE Airtricity League Player of the Year
Jonathan Walters, winner of the 3 FAI Senior International Player of the year with Republic of Ireland's Robbie Brady, left, winner of the 3 FAI International Young player of the year Award and Brighton and Hove Albion's Richie Towell, winner of the SSE Airtricity League Player of the Year
Jon Walters celebrates the goal that secured Ireland’s place at the Euro 2016 finals

JONATHAN Walters was feted for his superb 2015 by being awarded the FAI Senior International Player of the Year at RTE tonight.

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The Stoke City striker bagged both of Ireland’s goals in the 2-0 second leg play-off victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina in November, sealing a 3-1 aggregate win to book a place at this summer’s European Championships.

The 32-year-old also sunk the precious winner against Georgia in September to kickstart Ireland’s revival from a seemingly perilous position in Group D.

“It’s a privilege to be amongst the previous winners because they’re the ones I grew up watching,” said Walters.

“Our team were written off in the qualifiers and I’m sure it will be the same at the Euros because we’ll be underdogs again.”

Robbie Brady claimed the Young International Player of the Year award, a fitting accolade for a year during which he came of age at international level.

"Hopefully the Euros are good as everyone expects,” said Brady, whose strike sealed Norwich City a much-needed 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

"After the first leg in Bosnia, I don't think we could get ahead of ourselves because there was still work to do.

“It was a great achievement to qualify and we are really looking forward to it.”

Shane Long’s memorable winner against Germany earned the Southampton man the Goal of the Year, while Alan Browne of Preston North End won the U-21 gong.

Gerry Smith's Eastern Region team were honoured with the Special Merit award for lifting the trophy on home soil.

Former Ireland international forward Tony Cascarino was inducted into the Hall of Fame - becoming the sixth player from the EURO '88 & Italia '90 squads to be recognised.

Richie Towell was the winner of the SSE Airtricity League Player of the Year following an outstanding season with Dundalk, while ex-Italy international Gianluca Vialli was named as the International Personality of the Year.

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