It is only weeks since the 2018 Champions in Club Hurling and Football were crowned but already the AIB Club Championships are in full swing around the country.
Sport has an inevitable momentum with each new dawn bringing new games, new teams and new moments to savour but it is also important to take time to mark special events for individuals and AIB is doing just that this year with the launch yesterday of the inaugural AIB GAA Club Player Awards.
For the past 21 years, AIB has celebrated club players through the AIB GAA Provincial Club Player Awards. In response to a recommendation from Donegal county board in 2017, AIB and the GAA have now come together to evolve and elevate a national awards programme recognising the contribution of club players to Gaelic games, through the creation of the AIB GAA Club Players’ Awards.
Nemo Rangers’ Billy Morgan, Crossmaglen’s Aaron Kernan, James Stephens’ Eoin Larkin and Ballinteer St.John’s Coman Goggins joined forces yesterday to mark the new recognition which will take the form of an awards ceremony at Croke park on Saturday, April 21st.
It will recognise the top performing players in the AIB Club Championships 2017/2018 season in both football and hurling at provincial and All-Ireland level, and will celebrate their hard work, commitment and individual contribution to their club jerseys.
The Club Football and Hurling Team of the Years, comprised of one goalkeeper, six defenders, two midfielder and six forwards, will be named and celebrated at the awards ceremony, where the Club Footballer and Hurler of the Year will also be announced.
The Teams of the Year wil be selected by a judging panel chaired by Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael John Horan, from nominations secured from voting by regional and national sports media.
“AIB are proud to have been involved with the All-Ireland Club Championships for a 27th year,” said Coman Goggins, AIB Sports Programme Manager.
“We are thrilled to have an opportunity to be involved in an awards ceremony that celebrates the GAA’s best club players and the hard work, commitment and dedication that allows them wear their club jerseys with such distinction in what is #TheToughest club championship of all.”
“On behalf of AIB I also want to take this opportunity to thank the national and regional sports media for their time and input into the AIB GAA Club Player Awards and for their continued support for the AIB GAA Club Championships.”
This year’s AIB Club Championships were a fantastic treat for the clubs involved and their supporters and also the wider GAA community,” added GAA President John Horan.
“We have witnessed some superb fixtures throughout the season, and it seems apt that we are now celebrating the excellence and skill of our club players through holding the inaugural AIB GAA Club Players’ Awards.”
AIB are long-time sponsors of the Club Championships and we are delighted to join forces with them on what believe is a very important awards scheme. There is nothing greater than lining out for your local club and achieving glory with teammates you have grown up with. I look forward to celebrating our AIB GAA Club Hurling and Football Teams of the Year.”
This year’s AIB GAA Club Championships are already underway with Hurling Champions Cuala having secured their first win in the Dublin Championship at a rain soaked Parnell Park last weekend.
The team was honoured by a civic reception in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Hall last night with the building turned red for the occasion.
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Image Credit: Ramsey Cardy, Sportsfile and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown CC