Sunday 22 September 2019

Fenton and Lynch take top individual awards


Fenton is close friends with Kilkenny and McCaffrey and has described the award as
Fenton is close friends with Kilkenny and McCaffrey and has described the award as "bittersweet". Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Dublin footballer Brian Fenton and Limerick hurler Cian Lynch picked up the individual PwC GAA/GPA Player of the Year awards last night as All-Ireland hurling champions Limerick took six All-Star awards.

With all three initial nominations going to Dublin footballers - Ciaran Kilkenny and Jack McCaffrey were also in the mix - the All-Ireland football champions take back the prestigious award after it had gone to Mayo players, Lee Keegan (2016), Andy Moran (2017), over the last two years.

McCaffrey won it in 2015 while Fenton had a strong chance in 2016 too but this time the players' choice was the elegant Raheny midfielder who remains unbeaten in 26 championship games since making his debut in 2015.

Fenton (pictured) is close friends with Kilkenny and McCaffrey and has described the award as "bittersweet".

"I recently rediscovered a picture of the three of us playing together at U-12. It was a North Dublin development squad so that shows just how far back we go together," he commented.

Cian Lynch has been named Hurler of the Year, eclipsing Galway pair Padraic Mannion and Joe Canning, the outgoing recipient, for his midfield exploits.

"I never believed that I'd be able to get one of those," said the Patrickswell man.

"Hurling is a team sport but there are individual accolades that players can get, and if you get them or when you get them you have to appreciate them and cherish them." 

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The Young Footballer of the Year offered a seriously strong set of candidates with Kerry's David Clifford and Dublin's Brian Howard frontrunners ahead of Tyrone's Michael McKernan.

Clifford and Howard were arguably among the top six footballers in the game this year in what were effectively debut seasons for both, though Howard did play a peripheral role in 2017.

The players opted for Clifford on the basis of his scoring exploits and the responsibility he shouldered for an otherwise struggling team during the 'Super 8s'.

Kyle Hayes was named Young Hurler of the Year, his strong All-Ireland final showing enough to convince the players that he merited it over Cork's Darragh Fitzgibbon and Mark Coleman.

Nine players, including all six from Limerick, Clare's Peter Duggan and John Conlon, and Cork midfielder Darragh Fitzgibbon, won All-Stars for the first time.

It is Canning's fifth award, placing him level as the highest recipient from his native county along with Pete Finnerty and Joe Cooney.

Daithi Burke's remarkable consistency has also been honoured with a fourth successive award, matching the previous longest sequence since Finnerty's quartet between 1985 and '88.

Eoin Murphy is Kilkenny's sole recipient and is the first player since 2012 to win an award from outside the semi-finalists.

Six years ago, Clare's Brendan Bugler and Waterford duo John Mullane and Kevin Moran were honoured without their counties seeing any activity in August.

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