Over the last few years I’ve run a poll here on the site to determine who was our Player of the League in the campaign just concluded. David Clarke won the inaugural award in 2017 while Eoin O’Donoghue scooped the prize twelve months ago.
As an aside, I’ve also run a Player of the Year poll in recent years but omitted to do so last year. It didn’t seem like the right thing to do in the aftermath of Newbridge and then we headed off on our hols so, to be honest, I forgot all about it. Maybe it’s just as well – the less said about 2018, the better.
But 2019 has started off in a far brighter vein for us so it’s only right to seek to identify who you think was our outstanding performer this spring as we won the National Football League for the first time since 2001.
I’ve compiled a shortlist of five players for this year’s award and, as in previous years, I’ve used the data from the Man of the Match polls in all of the League games we played to do this. This isn’t an overly scientific exercise – all I’ve done is add up the votes every player got in all the matches we played, with the top five making the shortlist – but it is an objective one and I think the shortlist reflects this.
Okay, then, in alphabetical order, the five players who received the most votes cast in the MOTM polls for this League campaign and so make the shortlist for this year’s League Player of the Year award are Fionn McDonagh, Kevin McLoughlin, Diarmuid O’Connor, Aidan O’Shea and Matthew Ruane. Well done to all of them for making the cut.
Aidan O’Shea is the only one of the shortlisted quintet to start in all eight League matches we played. Team captain Diarmuid O’Connor started in seven games, he missed the Dublin match through injury, while Mattie Ruane started in six games and also came on as a sub in another. Fionn McDonagh’s first appearance was off the bench but he then started in the next five matches before injury ruled him out of the last two. Kevin McLoughlin started the three final games, having come on as a sub in the four matches before then.
All five shortlisted players won MOTM awards during the course of this year’s Division One campaign. Fionn got his one for his cracking debut performance against Tyrone, Mattie got the gong for his very solid display in difficult conditions against Galway, Aidan picked up his for his barnstorming shift against Kerry in Tralee, Kevin’s 2-2 haul against Monaghan did the trick there and Diarmuid’s captain fantastic display in Sunday’s final saw him pick up that one.
Three other players, by the way, who didn’t make it onto the shortlist also got MOTM awards during this spring campaign. Rob Hennelly (against Dublin) and Jason Doherty (Roscommon) were sixth and seventh in the table for votes cast and so narrowly missed out on inclusion in the shortlist. Ger Cafferkey also collected a MOTM award – for the Cavan game – but absence through injury affected his vote-getting opportunities over the course of the campaign.
Right, enough chat – time to get voting. This is a one-vote-only, winner-takes-all poll, which I’ll leave up till early next week or so and then declare the winner. Best of luck to all who made the shortlist for the award this year.
Who was our Player of the League for 2019?
- Aidan O'Shea (55%, 847 Votes)
- Matthew Ruane (31%, 476 Votes)
- Diarmuid O'Connor (6%, 96 Votes)
- Kevin McLoughlin (4%, 67 Votes)
- Fionn McDonagh (3%, 53 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,539