CHARITY was the big winner last Friday night as a huge crowd turned out at Breaffy House Hotel where Crossmolina captain Peadar Gardiner was announced as the People’s Choice Player of the Year at the Mayo News/O’Neills Club Stars Charity Banquet.
A crowd of almost 450 people saw Gardiner receive a standing ovation as he picked up the Willie McNeely Perpetual Trophy (which was presented by Mid West Radio) after being voted the outstanding performer in this year’s Mayo Club Championship.
“I’m absolutely delighted to have been chosen,” said the Crossmolina captain. “But I wouldn’t be standing here were it not for the efforts of my team-mates in Crossmolina and everyone at the club.
“It’s an honour and a privilege to have been selected as the Player of the Year and hopefully we can come back next year and defend our county title.”
On a night when all the monies raised were donated to the West of Ireland Alzheimer Foundation and the Mayo Cancer Support Association, the announcement of the Club Stars Team of the Season was the highlight of an enjoyable gala banquet.
County champions Crossmolina and beaten finalists Ballaghaderreen were the big winners, walking away with five awards each as the big two swept the boards.
Tom Nallen, the aforementioned Peadar Gardiner, James Nallen, Ciaran McDonald and Joe Keane were the Deel Rovers winners while Stephen Drake, Barry Kelly, Andy Moran, Barry Regan and Derek Moran were the Ballagh’ players honoured.
Also among the winners were Mayo’s newest All Stars, Alan Dillon from Ballintubber and Conor Mortimer from Shrule, while the County Intermediate champions, Tourmakeady, scooped two awards. Brian Heneghan was chosen as the Club Stars goalkeeper with David Prendergast named as one of five replacements.
Kiltane’s John Scanlon, Knockmore’s John Brogan and Aidan Kilcoyne, and Ballina trio Eanna Casey, Kenny Golden and Pat Harte completed the 20 players selected on the Club Stars squad by the judging panel of Sean Rice (The Mayo News), Sean Feeney (Mayo GAA Board Secretary) and Eamonn Clarke (Mid West Radio analyst).
Among the special guests who were in attendance were new Mayo manager, John O’Mahony, his selectors, Kieran Gallagher and Tommy Lyons, Galway boss, Peter Ford, Roscommon supremo, John Maughan, and Mayo’s U-21 joint managers, Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly.
Crossmolina manager Tommy Jordan was also presented with his Manager of the Year award on a night when all the proceeds from ticket sales, a raffle and auction were donated to the West of Ireland Alzheimer Foundation and the Mayo Cancer Support Association.