Higher education GAA has named the Electric Ireland HE GAA Rising Stars in football and hurling for 2019.
The awards acknowledge outstanding performances in the battle for the third level football and hurling championships and come at the end of what was another epic season of third level GAA action.
UCC as the champions of both the Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup and Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup were truly a class apart in 2019 and they dominate the final 15 in both codes with no fewer than fourteen young heroes chosen across the two star-studded selections.
Despite this, there are five colleges represented on each panel with established inter-county senior players such as Aaron Gillane and Sean O’Shea shining alongside up-and-comers James Bergin and Jarlath Óg Burns.
The Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup produced some thrilling games with only a single score separating the semi-finalists. UCC were worthy champions and contributed eight star players with Mary Immaculate College (3), DCU DE (2), NUI Galway (1) and GMIT (1) claiming the rest of the spoils.
The battle for the Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup was also a close fought affair and again there are five third level institutions contributing star players with UCC again being the dominant presence with six star players after a stellar final performance against a well drilled and determined St Mary’s University College who have four star players listed. NUI Galway (2), UCD (2) and LYIT (1) also feature on the football panel.
Also named this year were the Electric Ireland Hurler of the Year, Shane Conway from UCC and the Electric Ireland Footballer of the Year, Sean O’Shea also from UCC.
“Over the last number of years it has become a real statement of intent from young players involved at third level football and hurling championships that the form they show here is a sign of things to come at inter-county level,” said GAA president John Horan.
“Indeed, many of those chosen here have already embarked on senior inter-county careers and are making headlines. I’ve no doubt more of these names will follow them in the years to come.”
“We are delighted that our third-level institutions, which are rated so highly all over the world for the calibre of young people they help to mould, are so committed to the promotion and playing of our Games and we appreciate that support.”
“We in Electric Ireland have been delighted once again to support these prestigious championships for another year,” added John Dwane, Manager Customer Operations, Electric Ireland.
“For those involved in sport at third level, representing their college is special and it is the Higher Education Leagues and Championships that provide this sporting opportunity.”
“Electric Ireland wished to bring to the fore through the First Class Rivals campaign, the unique aspect of the Championships which sees rivals at County level, coming together in College with one goal – to win the highly coveted Fitzgibbon or Sigerson trophies.”
“Through our campaign, we sought to raise the profile of these wonderful competitions, celebrate the meaning and the emotion attached to the games.”
“The Electric Ireland HE GAA Rising Star Awards offer a fantastic opportunity to recognise exceptionally talented players across the country for their enviable dedication to their sport but also to their third level institution.”
Image Credit: Diarmuid Greene, Sportsfile