Announcing The 2016 Liathróid Óir Winners

Announcing The 2016 Liathróid Óir Winners
By Donny Mahoney Updated

Dublin’s Brian Fenton and Tipperary’s Seamus Callanan have been voted Ireland’s best footballer and hurler for the 2016 season in a new Ballon d’Or style poll that factors in votes from intercounty managers, captains and members of the press.

An Liathróid Óir is the GAA’s answer to the FIFA Ballon d’Or award, where every international football captain, manager and a national press representative cast their vote for the best footballer in the world. Over the last six weeks, Irish sports site Balls.ie has polled the 2016 manager and captain of the 32 counties in the four divisions of GAA National Football League (plus New York) and the fourteen counties who contested the 2016 All-Ireland senior hurling championship, as well as a media representative from each county. Each party was asked to cast a single vote for the footballer and/or hurler of the year.

Listen to a special Hard Shoulder Podcast featuring interviews with both winners:

With 99 votes to be won in football and 42 in hurling, we are now able to declare the An Liathróid Óir winners for the 2016 season. In football, Brian Fenton won a very close vote, pipping Mayo’s Lee Keegan by two votes while winning 31% of the vote. Between them, Fenton and Keegan won 60% of the vote. Dublin’s Johnny Cooper finished in third place while his teammate Diarmuid Connolly finished in 4th place.

In hurling, Seamus Callanan was a landslide winner, bringing home 48% of the vote. GAA/GPA Hurler of the Year Austin Gleeson finished a distant second with Callanan’s teammate Paudie Maher finishing one vote behind him in third place. Richie Hogan, John McGrath, Padraig Walsh and Brendan Maher all received votes.

All votes were made under the condition of anonymity and people were asked not to vote for players from their own county, but we can offer the following data on how the vote broke down:

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FOOTBALLER Liathróid Óir

Journalist vote: Brian Fenton clearly won the journalist vote, with 42% of the vote.
Captains vote: Not surprisingly given the Opel All-Stars poll, Keegan was a runaway winner of the captains' vote, winning 42% of the captains' vote.
Managers vote: The managers' vote was incredibly tight. Fenton shaded the intercounty manager vote, beating Lee Keegan by a single vote.

Connacht vote: Interestingly, considering his main competition for the award, Brian Fenton polled impressively in Connacht, where he won 9 of 21 votes.
Munster vote: Fenton dominated the Munster vote, winning 10 votes of the available 18 votes.
Ulster vote: Arguably on the strength of his performance in Mayo’s win over Tyrone, Keegan’s strongest constituency was Ulster, where he won 11 of a possible 27 votes. The rest of the Ulster vote was split mostly amongst Dublin footballers.
Leinster: Keegan was also polled strongly in Leinster where he won the first place vote, scooping 33% percent of the vote.

The final tallies were as follows.

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Football

Brian Fenton: 31 votes
Lee Keegan: 29 votes
Johnny Cooper: 8 votes
Diarmuid Connolly: 6 votes
Ciaran Kilkenny: 3 votes
Gary Brennan: 2 votes
Received 1 vote: Philly McMahon, Dean Rock, Stephen Cluxton, Cian O’Sullivan, Ryan McHugh, Peter Harte, Paddy Durcan, Peter Acheson, Michael Quinlivan, Conor McManus, Colm Kavanagh
Abstentions: 9

Hurling:

Seamus Callanan: 20 votes
Austin Gleeson: 6 votes
Paudie Maher: 5 votes
John McGrath: 2 votes
Received 1 vote: Richie Hogan, Brendan Maher, Padraig Walsh
Abstentions: 6

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