The inter county season is nearly upon us as the National Football and Hurling Leagues kick off over the coming weeks. But of course the AIB Club Championships are far from over.
On February 11th Dublin and Leinster Football Champions St. Vincents will be looking to book their place in the All Ireland final on St. Patricks Day. And Dublin and Leinster Hurling Champions Cuala will be attempting the same on February 25th. Both these Dublin clubs will be facing Ulster Champions Slaughtneil in their respective competitions.
And the honours just keep coming. Today the AIB Provincial Player Of The Year Awards were presented at HQ and eleven trophies were given between Football, Hurling and Camogie. Two very popular Dublin stars picked up gongs in the Leinster section.
Cuala hurler and All Ireland winning Footballer Con O’Callaghan was named AIB Leinster Hurling Player of the Year. Con’s star has risen since the County Championship, most notably his personal tally of 4-03 in their Leinster Quarter Final clash with Borris-Kilcotton.
From there the Cuala attacker scored a vital goal in their Semi Final win over St. Mullins at the end of November.
And to finish off his year, O’Callaghan scored another 1-03 against O’Loughlin Gaels to help Cuala lift the first Leinster Senior Hurling title in the clubs history.
In Football, St. Vincents Captain Diarmuid Connolly was give the honour of AIB Leinster Football Player of the Year.
Not that Diarmuid ever needs another award but he is sure to be as grateful for this as all the others. The four times inter county All Ireland Champion will be looking to make the All Ireland Club Final this year and add to the two club All Ireland medals he’s already picked up.
Without a doubt one of the finest, gifted footballers to ever grace the field of play, Connolly’s influence as captain for St. Vincents has proved very successful. With the exception of Ballymun in the county semi final, Vicnents have cruised to their seventh Leinster title and will have Slaughtneil in their crosshairs in a couple of weeks time.
Massive congratulations to both Con and Diarmuid, and to everyone who picked up an AIB Provincial Award today.
2016 AIB Provincial Club Player Award Winners
Connacht – Orlaith McGrath, Sarsfields
Leinster – Shelly Farrell, Thomastown
Munster – Eimear McDonnell, Burgess-Duharra
Ulster – Aoife Ni Chaiside, Slaughtneil
Connacht – Ian Burke, Corofin
Leinster – Diarmuid Connolly, St Vincents
Munster – Daithi Casey, Dr Crokes
Ulster – Chris McKaigue, Slaughtneil
Leinster – Con O’ Callaghan, Cuala
Munster – Tony Kelly, Ballyea
Ulster – Cormac O’ Doherty, Slaughtneil
*No award for Connacht given automatic qualification