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League Of Ireland: 2014 PFAI Awards Predictions

The SSE Airtricity League Of Ireland Player of the Year nominations have been made, and there are a few interesting choices in the mix. The Team of the Year for both divisions has been decided as well as the Goalkeeper of the Year award. Here’s Shane McDonnell’s view of the nominations for 2014.


SSE Airtricity Premier Division Player of the Year

  • Patrick Hoban (Dundalk)
  • Richie Towell (Dundalk)
  • Christy Fagan (St Patrick’s Athletic)
  • Colin Healy (Cork City)

All nominations for this award come from the top three sides in the league this year. It is widely expected that one of Dundalk duo Hoban & Towell will claim the award, but St Pat’s Christy Fagan who was the league’s joint top-sc0rer alongside Pat Hoban is in with a real shout. Former Irish international and Cork City midfielder Colin Healy is also in with a shout.

Healy had a great season with the more memorable moment being a spectacular overhead kick he scored in the last minute against St Pat’s to keep Cork City hot on Dundalk’s heels.

But the front runners for the award must be Hoban and Towell, both of whom picked up their first league winners medals in the league on Friday following Dundalk’s 2-0 victory over Cork.

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Young Player of the Year

  • Dylan Connolly (Shelbourne)
  • Sean Gannon (Dundalk)
  • Daryl Horgan (Dundalk)

The biggest talking point in this trio is Dylan Connolly of Shelbourne who had a brilliant season in the First Division, which ended in disappointment as Shels failed to gain promotion, losing in a play-off to Galway.

The winger’s form earned him a call-up to the Republic of Ireland Under-21 squad and recognition throughout the league as one of the hottest prospects in Irish football to break through recently.

Sean Gannon had a tremendous season at right-back for the champions, scoring a couple of goals and having a great all-round season, showing great composure in the big games for such a young player and helping his side secure the title.

Likewise, Daryl Horgan had a brilliant season on the wing for Dundalk, scoring some cracking goals and providing great service for Patrick Hoban up-front throughout the year. Horgan is a symbol of the young, fast, quality players that Stephen Kenny brought into the club in 2013, which resulted in the club’s first league title in 19 years.

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EA Sports Premier Division Team of the Year

  • Mark McNulty (Cork City)
  • Sean Gannon (Dundalk)
  • Andy Boyle (Dundalk)
  • Brian Gartland (Dundalk)
  • Ian Bermingham (St Patrick’s Athletic)
  • Colin Healy (Cork City)
  • Richie Towell (Dundalk)
  • Daryl Horgan (Dundalk)
  • Patrick Hoban (Dundalk)
  • Chris Fagan (St Patrick’s Athletic)
  • Mark O’Sullivan (Cork City)

Goalkeeper Mark McNulty was instrumental in Cork City’s title challenge, he single-handedly saved Cork in certain matches and they almost surely could not have challenge for the title without him. Similarly, Andy Boyle and Brian Gartland were a vital cog in Dundalk’s title-winning machine.

Gartland scoring eight goals throughout the season and preventing many more going in at the other end alongside Boyle who captained the side in Stephen O’Donnell’s absence. Ian Bermigham had a reasonably average season by his standards and could be a debating point of this team.

The midfield consists of Healy, Towell and Horgan with each player having an outstanding season. The front trio of Hoban, Fagan and O’Sullivan scored an amazing 51 goals between them, an average of 17 goals each, which gave them a deserved place on the team.

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Goalkeeper of the Year

Mark McNulty (Cork City)

McNulty deserved the award 100% although he was given a run for his money by Shamrock Rovers’ keeper Barry Murphy who had an outstanding season for the Hoops. However, McNulty takes the prize, and deservedly so.

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Predictions

Player of the Year – Richie Towell (Dundalk)

Young Player of the Year – Daryl Horgan (Dundalk)

Manager of the Year – Stephen Kenny (Dundalk)

So a clean sweep of awards for Dundalk in my opinion, and this writer is sure plenty of people will agree with this prediction. Dundalk are well deserving of their title and the performances of the players have earned plenty of them a place in the team of the year.

Shane McDonnell, Pundit Arena.

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