SHINING STAR Castlebar Mitchels’ defender Paddy Durcan is pictured with his Mayo Senior Football Championship ‘Player of the Year’ award last Friday night. Pic: Michael McLaughlin
Castlebar star wins top gong on Mitchel’s 130th birthday
PADDY Durcan was named Senior Footballer of the Year at the 11th annual Mayo News/O’Neills Club Stars Charity Banquet in Knockranny House Hotel, Westport on Friday night.
The 21 year-old Castlebar Mitchels player was presented with the Willie McNeela Perpetual Trophy by special guest Paul Earley. He was selected for the honour after being short-listed alongside team-mates Neil Douglas, Barry Moran and Eoghan O’Reilly.
Durcan also ended up at right half-back on the Team of the Year, winning his first Club Stars award in the process. Hailed by Master of Ceremonies Mike Finnerty for his ‘drive, attitude and consistent excellence’, he helped Castlebar Mitchels to county and Connacht titles.
All proceeds from the banquet, which was run in association with AIB, will go to Cystic Fibrosis West and the Mayo Rape Crisis Centre. Loretta McDonagh, acting director of Mayo Rape Crisis Centre said her organisation’s funding had decreased since 2008 despite increased demand for their services and increased costs. Funds raised from the Club Stars would, she said, go towards the reinstatement of the ‘really important’ outreach service in Ballina, which ceased recently due to funding cuts.
Caroline McManamon, whose four-year-old son Kyle has Cystic Fibrosis, said the new state-of-the-art Cystic Fibrosis Clinic at Mayo General Hospital was a ‘safe environment’ which would ensure CF patients who needed hospitalisation wouldn’t be exposed to infection.
In a letter read out to the crowd, CF West chairperson Martina Jennings said the GAA and CF West have ‘a lot in common’, as neither can ‘be successful or survive without team spirit, community spirit and volunteerism’. The recently-opened clinic will, she said, ‘not only prolong lives, it will save lives’.
Paddy Durcan was one of 11 Castlebar Mitchels players named in the Club Stars Team of the Year, which honours the cream of Mayo club footballers for their performances in the 2015 championship. On the night the Mitchels club celebrated its 130th birthday, the Mayo defender was joined on the first 15 by Rory Byrne, Tom Cunniffe, Eoghan O’Reilly, Ger McDonagh, Barry Moran, Richie Feeney, Neil Douglas and Danny Kirby, while Donal Newcombe and Shane Hopkins were among the five replacements selected.
Four players from beaten senior finalists Breaffy were among those picked by Seán Rice (The Mayo News), John Casey (Midwest Radio analyst), Eamon Clarke (former Knockmore manager) and Austin Garvin (The Mayo News) out of the 30 nominees short-listed. They were Colm Jordan, Conor O’Shea, Aidan O’Shea and replacement Tommy O’Reilly.
County semi-finalists Knockmore had two players in the starting 15 – midfielder Kieran Langan (who turned 30 on Friday night) and corner forward Colm Reape.
Intermediate champions Hollymount/Carramore had two players in the 20 – Pádraig Feerick at wing back and Darren Coen among the replacements, a group which also included Garrymore’s Shane Nally.
Claremorris minor captain Colin Gill – nominated alongside club-mate James McCormack and Balla’s Matthew Flanagan – was selected as the Young Player of the Year, an award sponsored by Mayo Sports Clinic in Ballina.
Pádraig Feerick edged out Hollymount/Carramore club-mate Darren Coen and The Neale’s Seánie Cosgrove for the Intermediate Player of the Year Award. Ardnaree’s Eoin McCormack was named Junior Player of the Year ahead of clubmates Chris Walsh and Ronan Doherty, while Westport’s Lee Keegan was named Personality of the Year after picking up his third All Star.
Martin Linnane received the Hurling Recognition Award, sponsored by Jim Hogan Couriers, for a lifetime’s work in the small-ball game in Belmullet, London and his native Gort. He became the inaugural recipient of the Adrian Freeman Perpetual Trophy, which was presented by the late Tooreen hurler’s parents, Seamus and Ita Freeman.
Ballycastle GAA Club chairman Martin Heffernan accepted a Special Achievement Award marking the North Mayo side’s Mayo Junior ‘B’ Championship success, their first county title since 1939. A Special Achievement Award was also presented to new Mayo manager Stephen Rochford to mark the All-Ireland club title he won as Corofin boss last March.
Knockmore’s Colm Reape got the Golden Boot as the top scorer in the Mayo Senior Championship, while Ballintubber’s Alan Plunkett was the top scorer from play for the second year in a row. Seánie Cosgrove of The Neale was the top scorer in the Mayo Intermediate Championship, while Brian Reape of Moy Davitts was the top scorer from play.
Castlebar bosses Declan O’Reilly and Declan Shaw were named Managers of the Year for guiding their team to the Moclair Cup and the Shane McGettigan Cup, while Ballinrobe’s Billy Horan was a popular choice for the Hall of Fame honour. Before a large Achill crowd, the McGinty brothers, Packie and Hughie, accepted the Volunteers of the Year award.