After an epic All-Ireland final played out over two gripping games, Cuala and Na Piarsaigh are the dominant forces on the inaugural AIB GAA Club Players’ Awards in hurling.
The new initiative sees an overall team of outstanding performers at the provincial and All-Ireland stages being recognised for the first time, and was selected by a cross section of GAA media.
In a season that saw them successfully retain their All-Ireland club title, Dublin champions Cuala have six players on the team.
Dual star Con O’Callaghan is joined by his older brother Cian on the final 15, while goalkeeper Sean Brennan, centre back Sean Moran, midfielder Darragh O’Connell and sharp shooter David Treacy are also honoured.
Defeated finalists Na Piarsaigh have six players on the team in recognition of their own impressive exploits. Defenders Michael Casey, Alan Dempsey and Cathall King all feature, Ronan Lynch is in midfield while Adrian Breen and Kevin Downes complete the full forward line.
Ballygunner and Waterford ace Philip Mahony is recognised for his powerful contribution to their tilt at the Munster title, likewise Adrian Morrissey for his exploits with a ground breaking Liam Mellows side in Galway.
There’s another landmark achievement for Slaughtneil of Derry with Brendan Rogers selected at centre forward. It comes after they had Antóin McMullan, Chris and Kark McKaigue and Christopher Bradley named on the inaugural AIB GAA Club Football Awards.
Uachtarán Cumann Luthchleas Gael John Horan congratulated all the winners and said: “The AIB GAA Club Hurling Championship was yet again a competition of real quality and produced a final that will live long in the memory.
“Our Association is built on our pride in the place we call home. It’s what motivates players to perform such heroics for the honour of the area they represent be it a big town or a little village. It’s what encourages people to play and inspires others to volunteer in our clubs.
“It’s a great honour for all of those players who have been selected – especially with this being the inaugural year of these awards – and I congratulate them all.
“The AIB GAA Club Championships continue to grow from strength to strength and these awards are a reflection of that, and it’s something the whole club can share in and celebrate.”
Denis O’Callaghan, AIB’s Head of Retail Banking said: “AIB is very proud to celebrate its 27th year sponsoring the club championships and to partner with The GAA for the introduction of the AIB GAA Club Players’ Awards.
“Today, we are delighted to announce the AIB GAA Club Hurler’ awards, on the back of announcing the AIB GAA Footballer awards last week. To be named on the Club Hurler and Footballers awards is a real honour for these players, their families, counties, and clubs. They deserve recognition for their immense passion and commitment to their club throughout #TheToughest competition.”
Denis continued: “On behalf of AIB I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate each of the winners and to thank the national and regional sports media for taking the time to cast their votes and for their continued support for the AIB GAA Club Championships."
The awards will be presented at a function in Croke Park this Saturday night, and where the AIB GAA Club Hurler of the Year will also be announced. The nominees for the prize are Na Piarsaigh defender Michael Casey, and Cuala duo Sean Moran and Con O’Callaghan.
AIB GAA CLUB PLAYER AWARDS – HURLING 2018
1. Sean Brennan (Cuala)
2. Michael Casey (Na Piarsaigh)
3. Cian O’Callaghan (Cuala)
4. Alan Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh)
5. Cathall King (Na Piarsaigh)
6. Sean Moran (Cuala)
7. Philip Mahony (Ballygunner)
8. Darragh O’Connell (Cuala)
**9. **Ronan Lynch (Na Piarsaigh)
10. David Treacy (Cuala)
11. Brendan Rogers (Slaughtneil)
12. Adrian Morrissey (Liam Mellows)
13. Adrian Breen (Na Piarsaigh)
14. Kevin Downes (Na Piarsaigh)
15. Con O’Callaghan (Cuala)
AIB GAA CLUB HURLER OF THE YEAR NOMINEES
Michael Casey (Na Piarsaigh), Sean Moran (Cuala) Con O’Callaghan (Cuala)