Friday 23 February 2018

Both All-Ireland winners snubbed in Player of the Year awards

Footballer of the year Lee Keegan. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Footballer of the year Lee Keegan. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Despite securing five nominations for four awards, neither of this season's All-Ireland senior hurling and football winners - Tipperary nor Dublin - have been recognised in the GAA GPA Player of the Year honours.

Instead, Mayo and Waterford scooped all four awards, with Mayo pair Lee Keegan (overall) and Diarmuid O'Connor (young player) taking the football honours and Waterford's Austin Gleeson being honoured with both the hurling awards.

Hurler of the year Austin Gleeson. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Hurler of the year Austin Gleeson. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Keegan, who also picked up a fourth All-Star, beat Dublin's Brian Fenton and Ciarán Kilkenny for the overall football award, while O'Connor was chosen ahead of Tipperary duo Josh Keane and Jimmy Feehan for young player award.

Gleeson beat Tipperary's Seamus Callanan and Pádraic Maher for the top hurling honour and came in ahead of Waterford team-mate Shane Bennett and Ronan Maher (Tipperary) for the young hurler gong.

Unlike the All-Stars teams, which are selected by journalists, the individual award winners are decided by the GPA membership from nominations compiled by the media.

It's a massive honour for Gleeson (21) to win both individual hurling awards and obviously his peers were hugely impressed by his contribution to Waterford's senior and U-21 teams.

The Déise U-21s enjoyed All-Ireland glory while the seniors lost a semi-final replay to Kilkenny.

Fenton was favourite to land the overall football award, with Kilkenny also in strong contention but Keegan (27) beat off both challenges to land the big prize.

All the awards were presented at a gala function in Dublin's Convention Centre last night.

The All-Stars hurling team, which was announced 'live' on RTé (the football team was released on Thursday), features seven Tipperary men, four from Kilkenny, with Galway and Waterford taking two each.

It was a special night for the Maher family from Thurles as Pádraic and younger brother Ronan were selected in the half-back line - the first brothers to be honoured together since Joe and Ollie Canning of Galway in 2009 - alongside Pádraig Walsh of Kilkenny, who won his first All-Star award.

He adds to the list of family members who have won All Stars - his older brother Tommy picked up nine awards.

John McGrath's award at left full-forward also extends a family haul as his older brother Noel has been previously honoured on two occasions.

Pádraic Maher and Richie Hogan both picked up their fourth awards while there are nine first-time winners in Eoin Murphy, Cathal Barrett, James Barry, Pádraig Walsh, Ronan Maher, Jamie Barron, Walter Walsh, Austin Gleeson and John McGrath.

An insult to all in Tipp

Irish Independent

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