The Electric Ireland Minor Star Awards Hurler and Footballer of the Year were announced on Saturday at the second annual Electric Ireland GAA Minor Star Awards in Croke Park.
Kerry’s All-Ireland Minor winning forward, Paul Walsh was named as Electric Ireland Minor Footballer of the Year, with Galway Minor full forward Donal O’Shea securing the Electric Ireland Minor Hurler of the Year award.
Walsh was a key figure as Kerry secured their fifth Minor All-Ireland title. The Brosna clubman was the scorer of 1-7 in the Munster Minor Football final win over Clare and notched three points in the All-Ireland semi-final against Monaghan and another four as Galway were seen off in the All-Ireland decider.
Donal O’Shea had an equally impressive season for Galway’s Minor Hurlers. A tally of 1-37 across four wins en-route to the All-Ireland title is proof of the Salthill-Knocknacarra man’s impact, but his influence spread beyond the bare numbers. Metronomic from frees, his full-forward play was central to what was a well-oiled Tribesmen attacking unit. Man of the Match in the semi-final win over Dublin, he scored ten points as Kilkenny were beaten in the final to crown Galway back to back Minor All-Ireland Hurling Champions.
Walsh and O’Shea were announced as part of this year’s Electric Ireland GAA Minor Star Awards which took place on Saturday. The event celebrated the Minor Football and Hurling Teams of the Year, who were joined by their families and representatives from their County boards and management teams in Croke Park.
Galway legend Mattie Murphy was also honoured with the Electric Ireland Special Merit Award, presented to him by Minor Star Awards judge and former Galway hurler Ollie Canning, for his significant contribution to Minor Hurling having led Galway to six All-Ireland Minor titles during his reign as Manager with the county.
The Awards emphasise that there is ‘nothing minor about playing Minor’ and honour the best individual performers from the entire season. They also recognise the crucial and admirable part played by the families, club members and communities of players who have helped them to get to this point in their sporting career.
The four-man awards selection panel who chose the awardees was unveiled in May, consisting of former All-Star winning Tyrone football captain, Sean Cavanagh, All-Star winning former Cork footballer, Daniel Goulding, eight-time All-Ireland winning former Kilkenny hurler Michael Fennelly and four-time All-Star former Galway defender, Ollie Canning.
“It’s great to see such talent recognised here today and for these players to be joined in celebration by all those who have supported in getting them to where they are in their playing careers,” said GAA President John Horan.
“For the GAA it’s rewarding because without that support, these players would not be able to reach their full potential. For every player named, it is a huge honour for them and we want to congratulate them and of course Paul Walsh and Donal O’Shea for their individual awards.”
“We are delighted to be back here today for the second annual Electric Ireland Minor Star Awards,” added Pat O’Doherty, CEO of ESB.
“We have seen first-hand the importance of acknowledging these players and recognising the commitment that each and every one of them put into the sport they love. This has been another great year for the Championship and as title sponsor, we have seen some riveting games that these players have played a huge part in.”
“It is a huge privilege for us to be able to honour these players. They are a credit to their parents, families, clubs and communities and no doubt are an inspiration to them all.”
Image Credit Sam Barnes, Sportsfile