O'Neill and Ryan win League awards

Tyrone ace Stephen O'Neill and Kilkenny's Lester Ryan have picked up the GAA-GPA Footballer and Hurler of the League awards respectively today in Croke Park.

Both selections were chosen by the inter-county playing body, and reflect the consistently high standards set by both teams.

O'Neill was honoured after playing a central role in Tyrone's march to the Allianz League final, putting in some excellent displays during the campaign including two vital points in the Ulster side's 2-15 to 2-11 semi-final win over Kildare.

Ryan was outstanding for Kilkenny as they picked up their 16th Allianz Hurling League title.

The newcomer scored three points in the semi-final victory over Galway and also put in a super display in the league final defeat of Tipperary.

GAA President Lian Ó Néill praised both players for their performances to date in 2013.

"I'm delighted to pass on my congratulations to two of the best players our leagues threw up this year, and it is no surprise that Lester Ryan and Stephen O'Neill are the two being honoured here today," he said.

"Lester underlined his promise over the course of the competition with a string of performances that bode well for Kilkenny's upcoming defence of their All-Ireland crown.

"Stephen was once again majestic during Tyrone's run to the league final and I look forward to seeing him in action against Donegal in the coming weeks.

"Being acknowledged by your peers is very special and I thank Opel who partner us in acknowledging excellence in both football and hurling."

GPA CEO Dessie Farrell added: "congratulations to Stephen and Lester in being recognised by their peers for their contribution during the leagues.

"Representing both ends of the spectrum in terms of experience, their performances reflect the importance and standard of the competition.

"We're delighted that these awards now kick-start the championships and we look forward with great anticipation to the months ahead.

"Thanks to all the players and to Opel for their great support of our games and our players."

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