Tuesday 23 January 2018

Awards to honour year's highest achievers

Joyce, Mooney and Balbirnie nominated for Men's International Player of the Year prize

Gaby Lewis
Gaby Lewis
Tyrone Kane
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

The nominations for the 2015 Hanley Energy Cricket Ireland Awards were announced last week, with Ed Joyce, John Mooney and Andrew Balbirnie all in the running for the Hanley Energy Men's International Player of the Year Award.

Joyce scored 621 runs at 56.45 in the qualification period which runs from October, 2014 to September, 2015. The left-hander recorded Ireland's highest individual score with a brilliant 231 against the UAE in the InterContinental Cup, and also made a Man of the Match 112 in the World Cup win over Zimbabwe.

Mooney was Ireland's leading wicket-taker during the year - his haul of 31 wickets at 23.13 putting him ahead of George Dockrell (29), Kevin O'Brien (27), and Alex Cusack (23). Mooney was the spearhead of the Irish attack during the World Cup and also when they obtained qualification for the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 in India.

Balbirnie was the leading run scorer in the period, hitting 631 at 37.12. His highest score of 129 came in the win against New Zealand 'A', while he also made half-centuries against South Africa and Zimbabwe in the World Cup.

The Sunday Independent Aengus Fanning International Emerging Player of the Year Award will go to Tyrone Kane or Gaby Lewis.

Lewis holds the record of being the first international cricketer born this millennium. At just 13 years and 166 days old (born March 27, 2001), the YMCA player made her international debut against South Africa in 2014.

She has gone on to become a regular in the Ireland side which played in the ECB County Championships this year, and represented Ireland against world champions Australia at YMCA's Claremont Road, her home ground, in three Twenty20 internationals in August. It was a good series for the teenager, who top-scored for Ireland in the third match with an unbeaten 30, while she also scored 23 in the opening match.

Lewis is not the only player in her family to represent Ireland. Her sister, Robyn, is also a member of the Ireland women's squad and her grandfather Ian Lewis also represented Ireland. But it is her father, Alan, who would be the most famous having represented Ireland on 121 occasions, and is regarded as one of Ireland's best ever cricketers. He is also a former international rugby referee and a regular contributor to BBC's Test Match Special.

Gaby Lewis is a member of the Shapporji Pallonji Cricket Ireland Academy, which aims to identify and support the most talented young male and female players in the country, and provide them with a bespoke world-class player development programme in order to have the best possible chance of success on the international stage.

She will travel to Thailand with the Ireland Women's team at the end of the month for the ICC World T20 Qualifier, when they will be hoping to qualify for the ICC World T20 in India next year.

Tyrone Kane, the 21-year-old Merrion all-rounder, made a sensational debut for Ireland this year, taking three wickets against Scotland in his first over of international cricket at Bready in June. Kane's selection for the senior side comes on the back of two impressive seasons for the Leinster Lightning in the Hanley Energy Inter-Provincial Series; he was named Player of the Series for this year's Twenty20 competition.

He was also a successful member of the Ireland squad that qualified for the ICC World T20, thanks to finishing in the top five at the ICC World T20 Qualifier held in Ireland in July.

Kane has represented Ireland right up through the age groups, including representing Ireland at the 2012 Under-19 World Cup in Australia.

He has taken eight wickets for Ireland in his seven appearances to date, with a highest score of 26 not out with the bat. He is also one of the first graduates of the Shapporji Pallonji Cricket Ireland Academy, and has moved into the senior programme having been awarded a Cricket Ireland central contract.

Meanwhile, there is a youthful look to the nominations for the Toyota Women's International Player of the Year Award. Teenagers Kim Garth and Lucy O'Reilly make the shortlist along with the experienced Cecelia Joyce. The trio enjoyed strong seasons, particularly in the three-match T20I series against world champions Australia.

Ireland also competed strongly in the ECB Division Two County Championship and Division One of the T20 competition.

Away from the national side there are plenty more prizes up for grabs, for playing and coaching, as well as club awards.

In youth cricket Gary McClintock, Jack Tector, and Varun Chopra have been nominated for the Castleknock Hotel Junior Player of the Year after strong seasons at club and junior representative levels. Ireland were winners of the Under 15 and 17 European titles and just missed out on the clean sweep, losing the Under 19 title on net run-rate.

The Hanley Energy Inter-Provincial Player of the Year Award will go to one of John Mooney, Fintan McAllister or James Cameron-Dow with Malahide's McAllister also getting a nomination in the O'Neill's Club Player of the Year along with James Hall (Waringstown), James Shannon (Instonians), Scott Campbell (Coleraine), and Eddie Richardson (North County).

The Oasis Coach of the Year award has proved a competitive category with 11 shortlisted following public nominations - Amy Kenealy, James Colhoun, Gareth Jenkins, Simon Johnston, Lynal Jansen, Michael Hingston, Rob O'Connor, Deryck Vincent, Kevin O'Herlihy, Wayne Hughes and Craig Hogan.

After an extremely competitive and exciting season in Irish club cricket, five clubs have been shortlisted for the Tildenet Club of the Year Award.

Irish Senior Cup winners Waringstown are joined by Armagh from the NCU region, while National Cup winners Rush make the shortlist along with Malahide and YMCA from the Leinster region.

Three umpires have been nominated in the Notts Sport Official of the Year ­category, with Roland Black (NWCU), Paul Reynolds (LCU) and Mark ­Hawthorne (NCU) in the running.

In addition to the categories with nominations, there will be presentations for Johnston, Mooney & O'Brien Volunteer of the Year, Shapoorji Pallonji Academy Player of the Year, Flogas Outstanding Contribution to Irish Cricket and the Cricket Writers of Ireland Hall of Fame induction.

The winners of all the awards will be announced tomorrow with the presentations taking place at a function in Dublin on Friday.

Sunday Indo Sport

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