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'I Didn't Pay Them Fifties To Vote For Me'

'I Didn't Pay Them Fifties To Vote For Me'
By PJ Browne

For the first time since Bernard Brogan in 2010, a player not on the All-Ireland winning team was named Footballer of the Year.

Lee Keegan winning the award raised the ire of many Dublin fans. The other two nominees were Diarmuid Connolly and Ciaran Kilkenny.

Quoted by the Irish Independent, the Mayo man rebutted his detractors. Keegan rejected suggestions that his winning of the award was somehow spoiled by the negativity.

I didn't make the players pick me. I didn't pay them fifties to vote for me. You know, like? That's up to other people to criticise me. I can't do anything about it, to be honest. I get recognised by my peers, so the system is there for them to pick me.

Again, I'm obviously delighted to win it. It's something I haven't had time to think about with the club scene again.

No, I don't see it as tarnished. People will have their opinions all the time and they're entitled to it. I can see why Dublin are a bit disappointed for getting it. Obviously look at the past records it's the winning team that usually gets the player of the year and, to be honest, I wouldn't begrudge Brian or Ciaran getting it because they had fantastic years for Dublin.

The Hurler of the Year was also won by an individual who was not on the All-Ireland winning team. Despite Waterford being eliminated at the semi-final stage after two epic games with Kilkenny, Austin Gleeson won the award.

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Keegan believes Gleeson's is also a remarkable achievement.

No, I don't think there's anything bad in it at all. To be honest, as I said, everyone is going to have an opinion abou I'm sure Austin had the same. He got to a semi-final and still got it which I find a great achievement on his behalf.

I was delighted for my family, my club, and obviously to be the first Mayo man to win it. That's the way I look at it.

Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

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