The Hurler And Footballer Of The Year Have Been Named

The Hurler And Footballer Of The Year Have Been Named
By Conor Neville
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The hurler and footballer of the year for 2016 have been announced at the Opel All-Stars tonight.

For the first time since the All-Star player of the year awards were instituted in 1995, both winners have come from a county which didn't win the All-Ireland.

Austin Gleeson and Lee Keegan have taken home the gongs at the big gala tonight. Naturally, Gleeson collected the Young Hurler of the year award in tandem with main prize.

Diarmuid O'Connor picked up the gong for Young Footballer of the Year for his brilliant performances for Mayo during their heroic run to the All-Ireland final.

Keegan, meanwhile, is the first Mayo man to win the Footballer of the Year award. This goes for both the modern prize and the recently discontinued Texaco Footballer of the Year award, which stretches back to the late 1950s.

The Waterford centre-back/centre-forward/all action her delivered a series of spectacular performances all season, particularly against Clare in the opening round in Thurles and in the two Kilkenny semi-finals.

Sky Sports awarded him the Man of the Match award in the losing effort against Kilkenny.


He pipped fellow nominees Seamus Callanan and Paudie Maher. It seems that Callanan's quiet day in the All-Ireland semi-final may have cost him the award.


Despite the claims of Brian Fenton, the judging committee opted for Lee Keegan as Footballer of the Year award.


Keegan established himself as one of the most influential footballers in the country during Mayo's run to the All-Ireland final.

In each game, he was assigned the task of shackling the most dangerous forward on the opposing team and still managed to bomb forward and hit crucial scores.

His Man of the Match performance against Tyrone, where he broke Sean Cavanagh's heart and still had time to get forward and kick the winning score, was especially awe-inspiring.


The two All-Ireland finals only underlined his importance to Mayo. He lashed home a brilliant early goal, giving Mayo the lead for the first time. Shortly afterwards, he received a contentious black card.

Between 1995 and 2015, only five players have won player of the year after a season in which they didn't win the All-Ireland.


Football:  Peter Canavan (1995),  Steven McDonnell (2003),  Bernard Brogan (2010)

Hurling:  Tony Browne (1998),  Dan Shanahan (2007)

Gleeson and Keegan join the list.


READ MORE: The Hurling Team Of The Year Outside The All-Ireland Finalists

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