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Suspense builds ahead of Club Stars awards


TEAM EFFORT Pictured at the launch of the Club Stars awards recently were, from left: Ger Cafferkey (Spirit of Mayo - Personality of the Year award winner), Martina Jennings (CEO,
Mayo Roscommon Hospice, Club Stars charity partner) and Seán Deane (AIB, Club Stars sponsors). Pic: Michael McLaughlin


Mike Finnerty

THE nominees for the prestigious Club Stars ‘Senior Player of the Year’ award won’t be revealed until just before the winner is announced at next Saturday night’s ‘sold out’ awards ceremony in Westport next Saturday night.
In a break with tradition — and to help build even more suspense than usual on the night — the Club Stars judges have decided not to announce the nominees until the last minute.
Diarmuid O’Connor was the winner of the coveted ‘Willie McNeela Perpetual Trophy’ last year.
The next winner (who is chosen by the Club Stars judging panel of John Casey, Nigel Reape, Seán Rice and Austin Garvin) will be crowned at the 15th annual Club Stars awards that are being held on Saturday next, January 11 in Knockranny House Hotel, Westport.
The event is being held in association with AIB, O’Neills and The Mayo News.
Proceeds from the night are being donated to the Mayo Roscommon Hospice, the Club Stars charity partner this year.
Meanwhile, Mayo Intermediate club champions, The Neale, have two players nominated for the Intermediate ‘Player of the Year’ award with free-scoring forwards Seanie Cosgrove and Tommy Conroy going head-to-head for the trophy.
Both of them played starring roles as the South Mayo club claimed their first ever county Intermediate championship title last season after their dramatic last-gasp final victory over Ballyhaunis.
Elsewhere, Castlebar Mitchels ‘B’ captain Eamonn Tiernan and Kilmaine’s Oisin Mullin are in the running for the Club Stars ‘Junior Player of the Year’ award.
Tiernan led Mitchels to a surprise victory over Kilmaine in the County Junior Final and played a captain’s part throughout their run to the title.
Mullin, meanwhile, delivered a string of stand-out performances for his team all through their county championship campaign and continued his fine run of form into the Connacht series as Kilmaine went all the way to the provincial title.
The ‘Young Player of the Year’ trophy will also be presented at the Club Stars awards next Saturday night — with both Tommy Conroy and Oisin Mullin also nominated in this category.
The duo both played with the Mayo Under-20s last year, won All-Ireland Senior ‘B’ colleges medals together with Ballinrobe Community School in 2017 and are also part of the NUI, Galway Sigerson Cup squad this season.
Both of them enjoyed stellar seasons with their clubs in 2019, winning a number of man of the match awards as they picked up championship medals.
James Horan has included both players in his extended Mayo senior panel ahead of the start of the National Football League later this month.

Award winners
Other recipients of awards at this year’s Club Stars include: Bertie McHugh (Hall of Fame), Tony Stakelum (Outstanding Contribution to Hurling), Ger Cafferkey (Spirit of Mayo - Personality of the Year), Eastern Gaels GAA club (Volunteers of the Year), Tooreen hurling club (Special Achievement) and Austin Henry (Supporter of the Year).
The Club Stars ‘Team of the Year’ will also be revealed on the night.

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