JOINING FORCES Pictured at the recent launch of the Club Stars awards (with The Mayo News, AIB and O’Neills Sports) were, left to right: Ciara Galvin (The Mayo News), Alan Dillon (award nominee), Martina Jennings (CEO, Mayo Roscommon Hospice) and Trevor Watson (O’Neills Sports). Pic: Michael McLaughlin
TWO of Ballintubber’s county championship winning team have been nominated for the prestigious Club Stars ‘Senior Player of the Year’ award.
Jason Gibbons and Diarmuid O’Connor — both of whom won Mayo SFC medals last season — have been shortlisted to win the Willie McNeela Perpetual Trophy, along with Breaffy’s Aidan O’Shea.
None of the three players have ever won the Senior POY trophy before, but Gibbons and O’Connor both played pivotal roles as Ballintubber won their first Moclair Cup since 2014 last October.
O’Shea, meanwhile, was a real driving force behind Breaffy’s drive to another County Senior Final.
The winner of the award (which is chosen by the Club Stars judging panel of John Casey, Nigel Reape, Seán Rice and Austin Garvin) will be revealed at the 14th annual Club Stars that are being held on Friday, January 12 in Knockranny House Hotel, Westport with AIB, O’Neills and The Mayo News.
The proceeds from the event are being donated to the Mayo Roscommon Hospice, the Club Stars charity partner this year.
Meanwhile, Mayo Intermediate club football champions, Belmullet, have also had two players nominated for the ‘Intermediate POY’ award with forwards James Kelly and Ryan O’Donoghue chosen by the Club Stars judges.
Burrishoole’s Jason Doherty has also been shortlisted.
Kelly and O’Donoghue helped the North Mayo club to a long-awaited county title last season after a convincing final victory over Burrishoole.
Elsewhere, Balla duo Val Roughneen and Conor Walsh, along with Achill’s Eddie Doran, are all in the running for the Club Stars ‘Junior Player of the Year’ award.
Roughneen and Walsh played starring roles in Balla’s famous Mayo Junior title win, with Walsh becoming the first Balla captain to lift the cup since 1980.
The ‘Young Player of the Year’ trophy will also be presented at the Club Stars awards on Friday week next — with three up and coming young guns nominated.
Mayo Under-20 forwards Ryan O’Donoghue and Conor Diskin are both shortlisted for the coveted award, after also turning in impressive club campaigns last season, while county senior champions, Ballintubber, are represented by Ciarán Gavin.
O’Donoghue and Diskin have both been recently called into the Mayo senior panel by James Horan with Diskin helping Claremorris to win the County under-21 ‘A’ championship title last month.
Gavin (19) also enjoyed a fine debut season with Ballintubber, turning in a string of impressive performances en route to winning his first Mayo SFC medal.
Other recipients of awards at this year’s Club Stars include: Paddy Muldoon (Hall of Fame), Jimmy Martin (Outstanding Contribution to Hurling), Tom Parsons (Personality of the Year), Joe Reapy (Volunteer of the Year), Westport Ladies GAA club (Special Achievement), Toby McWalter (Supporter of the Year).
The Club Stars ‘Team of the Year’ will also be revealed on the night.