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The Stats Which Show How Unique Lee Keegan And Austin Gleeson's Awards Are

The Stats Which Show How Unique Lee Keegan And Austin Gleeson's Awards Are
By Gavin Cooney
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Lee Keegan was last night announced as Footballer of the Year at this year's Opel All-Stars, and (believe it or not) not everybody on social media agreed with the decision. 

Keegan was one of three men nominated for the award, along with Dublin's Brian Fenton and Ciaran Kilkenny.

Fenton was the slight favourite to land the award, but the fact the gong has ultimately gone to a player without a Celtic Cross for the year caused much consternation among Dublin supporters in particular.

So how strange is it for the Footballer of the Year award to be given to a player who did not win the All-Ireland? History shows that, while not without precedent, is rare.

The Opel All-Star Footballer of the Year award has been given out since 1995 (prior to that, the Texaco Footballer of the Year was the main prize, stretching back to 1958).

Of the 22 Opel All-Star Footballer of the Year prizes handed out, it has been given to a player with the All-Ireland winners on 18 occasions.

Keegan is just the third Player of the Year to have lost that year's All-Ireland: he joins Peter Canavan (1995) and Steven McDonnell (2003) on that list.


While some Dublin fans may decry a perceived bias in this year's award, consider this: the only player to win an Opel All-Star Footballer of the Year without having played in the All-Ireland final at all was Bernard Brogan, in 2010. That year, Dublin lost at the semi-final stage to eventual winners Cork.


To turn the clock back further, to the older Texaco award (running from 1958 to 2011), only three players ever won this award having not won the relevant All-Ireland final. Brogan in 2010 was one, the other two were Colm O'Rourke in 1991 and Jim McKeever of Derry in 1958.

The only other occasion in which an All-Ireland winner didn't win that year's Texaco award was in 1974, when Dublin manager Kevin Heffernan was awarded the prize.


That means, across the two awards - a total of 76 awards - it has been awarded to a member of the relevant All-Ireland winning panel on 68 occasions. (We're excluding Heffernan here).

To switch to hurling.

Austin Gleeson was awarded the Opel All-Star award for 2016, despite having not even played in the All-Ireland final. In the 22-year history of the Opel All-Star award, it has been given to a player with the All-Ireland champions on 19 occasions.


Remarkably, it has never been won by a player who has lost an All-Ireland final. Instead, on the outlying three occasions, it has gone to a semi-finalist. And to add another ironic twist, that player has always represented Waterford: Gleeson in 2016, Dan Shanahan in 2007 and Tony Browne in 1998.

In terms of the older Texaco award, it has gone to a player who did not win the All-Ireland on four occasions: Shanahan in '07, Brian Corcoran in 1992, Tony Doran of Wexford in 1976 and Christy Ring in 1959. Like Shanahan, Ring did not compete in that year's All-Ireland final.

So to do the maths, in the combined total of 76 hurling awards, an All-Ireland winner of that year has won out 69 times.


Oh, and in a further odd twist, the winners of the Texaco award in 1981 (Pat Delaney of Offaly) and 1994 (Brian Whelahan of Offaly) were Players of the Year without making it onto the All-Star team. Figure that one out.

See Also: All The Pictures From The 2016 Opel All-Star Awards


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