GAA

A Night For The West As Andy Moran and Joe Canning Win Players of the Year

A Night For The West As Andy Moran and Joe Canning Win Players of the Year

It's been an incredible year for GAA west of the Shannon. Galway won their first All-Ireland final in 29 years, while Mayo came up just short in the football yet again.

While Dublin may have ruined the western party in September, tonight, they couldn't it tonight as Joe Canning and Andy Moran picked up the Hurler and Footballer of the Year Awards.

For Canning, who's long been touted as the only superstar in hurling, it's his first Hurler of the Year award to add to his four All-Stars. Moving to a permanent role at centre-forward this year, Joe caught the eye in the League Final hammering of Tipperary, and it was against Tipp again that he had "one of those moments", scoring an unbelievable and dramatic last second point to put his team into the All-Ireland final.

Above all though, in a year when those around him finally stepped up and he didn't have to do it all on his own, Canning's leadership for the team and panel really stood out. None more so than in his dealings with the family of the late Tony Keady.

In a lovely touch, Joe was presented with the award by Keady's daughter Shannon. The Galway legend was Hurler of the Year when Galway last won the All-Ireland back in 1988. He passed away this year, and there's something incredibly poignant about Galway finally getting over the line, with the Keady family and Tony's memory being such a huge part of the story.

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While it's not as if Joe Canning went anywhere, this was his first All-Star since 2012, and at 29, an accolade like a long overdue cherry on top for a wonderful career that has always been played out in the brightest of spotlights.

If Joe Canning's award isn't quite a comeback story, Andy Moran's certainly is.

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In 2016, it looked as thought it was a last hoorah for Moran. In 2017, he changed jobs, and at 33 years old, he was rejuvenated. He went from being a bit part player in Mayo's odyssey to the their talismanic go-to forward, scoring 3-23 in the Championship.

Moran's talents have never been in doubt, and is career in Mayo is legendary, but his performances in 2017 were a measure above. For that level of performance to come so late in his career is all the more remarkable.

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Obviously, given that Dublin have won 3-in-a-row, some Dubin fans aren't too happy with Moran picking up the award.

Two years in a row now the Dubs have won the All-Ireland but not the Footballer of the Year award.

Some of the reaction to both Moran and Canning's awards suggest the selections were more about sentimentality than performances in 2017.

 

SEE ALSO: Dublin And Mayo Dominate The 2017 Gaelic Football All-Stars

 

 

Michael McCarthy

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