Kilbane's great year recognised
EVERTON midfielder Kevin Kilbane was rewarded for a superb 2004 last night when he was named as the Senior Player of the Year at the Eircom FAI International Awards in Citywest.
Kilbane, who is set to win his 60th cap on Wednesday night against Portugal, edged out Newcastle goalkeeper Shay Given and Tottenham Hotspur striker Robbie Keane for the award.
Ireland manager Brian Kerr led the tributes to Kilbane, who celebrated his 28th birthday last Tuesday.
"I rated him when I wasn't the manager and I was watching him from a distance but since I have been manager he has been fantastic both as a wide player and a central player." Andy Reid, who made his debut for Tottenham in Saturday's 3-1 win over Portsmouth, won the Young Player Award from Manchester United duo John O'Shea and Liam Miller.
But Reid missed out on a double when Robbie Keane's goal in June against Holland was adjudged Goal of the Year.
Shelbourne skipper Owen Heary was named as the Eircom League Player of the Year, while Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Glenn Whelan won the U-21 award and Manchester City's Willo Flood received the U-19 accolade.
Former Ireland international Gerry Daly was inducted into the Hall of Fame, while Celtic manager Martin O'Neill was named as International Personality.
Ireland U-15 manager Vincent Butler, who has been responsible for launching the international careers of many Irish players, received the Special Merit Award much to the delight of Kerr.
"Vincent really deserved most of the credit for any of the success myself and Noel (O'Reilly) had with the underage teams," said Kerr.
The Ireland manager began preparations for Wednesday's game against Portugal with as he gave the squad a light run-out at Malahide yesterday.
So far, the only player who has withdrawn from the 27-strong squad is Manchester United's Roy Keane who played in Saturday's game against Birmingham City with the aid of a pain-killing injection in his knee.
FAI AWARDS - Senior: Kevin Kilbane (Everton). Young: Andy Reid (Tottenham Hotspur). U-21: Glenn Whelan (Sheffield Wednesday). Eircom League: Owen Heary (Shelbourne). U-19: Willo Flood (Manchester City). U-17: Darren Randolph (Charlton Athletic). U-16: Keith Treacy (Blackburn Rvs). Schools: Darren Quigley (St Laurence's College/UCD). Junior: James Walsh (St Michael's). Intermediate: Ian Callaghan (Wayside Celtic). Women: Elaine O'Connor (Hofstra FC New York). Women U-19: Katie Taylor (St James Gate). Football For All: Rita Doherty (Special Olympics Ireland). Eircom Goal of the Year: Robbie Keane (v Holland).